Abia State Governor Chief Theodore Orji has commended Aba Landlords Association on their support over the planned demolition of illegal structures in the Enyimba city. The Governor who met with the leadership and trustee members of the association made it clear that he is determined to clean up Aba.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Ugochukwu Emezue, Chief Orji told the association that he is not unmindful of the neglect Aba had suffered in the hands of successive government, hence his decision to make the difference.
Chief Orji said that there is no going back on the demolition which will help in deflooding Aba. The Governor who spoke on the state of roads, being one of the issues raised by the association assured Aba people that as soon as the dry season sets in, the roads will get the desired attention, even as he hinted that remedial work has started on some roads as Abia road maintenance agency and Ministry of Works are now filling the pot holes.
On the issue of double taxation raised by the association Chief Orji said that the matter is being addressed following the harmonization of tax payment in the state.
Reacting Chairman of the association Sir Chief E.C. Mejeh, Vice Chairman, High Chief Atuma Ashiegbu, Trustee members Chief G.I. Ahara, Chief Obewu Onwuka and Chief Greg Esolu, told the governor that they are solidly behind him on the demolition issue. They commended Chief T.A. Orji on the security situation in the state, and urged him not to be distracted. They appealed to Aba people to be patient as Chief T.A. Orji will do everything to give Aba a new look.
Also, Abia state government has handed over to their original owners 19 schools taken over by government 42 years ago under the first phase of the exercise.There have been a lot of agitations by voluntary organizations,(missions),and private proprietors to have their schools back from the government, a situation that led the state government to set up a committee to work out the modalities for the eventual handover of the schools back to their original owners.
The schools handed over by the government include the Wilcox comprehensive secondary school, Ogbor Hill, Aba owned by qua Ibo church,Ihie High school,Ihie owned by the seventh Day Adventist church,Eziama High school, Aba owned by Apostolic Christian church, Evangel High school Umuahia owned by the Assemblies of God church and the All saints secondary school Ehere Aba owned by the Presbyterian church.
Others are the Methodist college, Ozuakoli, Girls secondary school, Ovim,Girls High school Ugwunchara and Ngodo Girls secondary school, Ngodo all owned by the Methodist church.The Sacred Heart collegeEzuikwu, Aba, Maria coronate secondary school, Ohafia,Olokoro High school Olokoro, Holy Ghost Technical school, Olokoro and Girls secondary school Umuahia all of the catholic church.
The rest are Ovom Girls High school, Ovom, Aba, Grammer school,Nbawsi and Ngwa High school, Umuahia, Abayi, Aba owned by the Anglican church as well as Iheorji secondary school, Aba and secondary Technical school, Ogbor Hill, Aba privately owned.
Speaking at the ceremony, the governor, chief TA Orji said other schools owned by voluntary agencies and privately owned schools will be handed over to their owners in due course, adding that the exercise is not limited to secondary schools but will later extend to the primary schools.
He stated that with the takeover of schools by government in the 1970’s discipline and morality as well as the standard of education has fallen and said government has shown commitment to the return of schools with the Abia state government education law no 5 of 2011 which abrogates the education edict 1970 of the East central state.
Chief Orji maintained that government is anxious to see an improvement in the standard of education at all levels in the state and saw the handover of schools to their original owners as reasonable and therefore urged the beneficiaries to see the venture as a special privilege to be cherished to develop the education industry.
In her speech, the commissioner for education, Dr. Monica Philips said the governor is committed to the development of the education sector since education remains key to development.
The chairman of the occasion, Gen.Ike Nwachukwu Rtd.saluted the resourcefulness of the governor in deciding to return the schools to their former owners and called on private investors to invest in the education sector.
Responding on behalf of the others, the catholic bishop of Umuahia Diocese,most Rev Lucius Ugorji thanked the governor for doing what past governments could not doand assured that the proprietors are committed to excellence in academics and will strive to inject morality and spirituality in the education system of the state while urged the government to reconstruct and rehabilitate the schools.