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Community Development Initiatives: The Mgbuji Autonomous Community’s Example

Mgbuji community road initiative
Mgbuji community road initiative

There is no doubt that Enugu State is blessed with enormous resources including rich and expansive arable land. Unfortunately, a greater portion of these rich arable and cultivable lands are not accessible and the resources therein are not exploited.

One area where such expansive arable land is lying dormant and grossly under-utilized is Mgbuji community of Eha-Amufu in Isi-Uzo LG of Enugu State. Mgbuji community is bordered by three LGs in Benue State namely Obadigbo, Okpowu and Ador LGs covering a distance of more than 50kilometres.

However, the community, in an unprecedented demonstration of communal unity and patriotism, has initiated an ambitious multi-million naira road project intended to connect the various villages along that trajectory and open up the expansive land resource to stimulate economic development.

Speaking to journalists on (6/4/2020), during an inspection tour undertaken by a team of journalists, the President of Mgbuji Community, Barrister Chukwuma Edeh said the project was embarked upon as a response to the people’s desire to have all the villages and farm settlements in Mgbuji community linked and opened up to stimulate increased economic activities.

According to him, there are about 8 villages in the community that are inaccessible especially during the rainy season. Because of this problem, enormous agricultural produce from these areas are wasted and never evacuated. This, he said, has impacted negatively on the economy of the people. He also explained that several primary schools in these villages are in disrepair.

Enugu state Commissioner for Environment, Chijioke Edeoga
Enugu state Commissioner for Environment, Chijioke Edeoga

The inspection tour attracted major stakeholders in the community including the current Enugu state Commissioner for Environment, Chijioke Edeoga, and Chief Goddie Ogenyi, former Commissioner for Poverty Alleviation and Human Capital Development, Chief Eric Ebeh, Ohanaeze Chieftain and former Council Chairmen of Isi-Uzo LG; the Administrator of Mgbuji Development Centre. Also in attendance was the Chairman of Isi-Uzo LG Chief Jacob Abonyi.

Addressing the journalists, Chief Chijioke Edeoga remarked that Mgbuji community is a strategic and shortest gateway to Benue State; and scattered on this gateway are about 8villages and numerous farm settlements spanning a distance of over 50km to their border with Benue State on three fronts.

The project, he explained, include massive earthwork and expansion of the road, and opening of new roads to connect the villages and settlements. According to Chijioke Edeoga, the project, on completion, will contribute to economic development of Mgbuji community, Isi-Uzo LG and Enugu State at large.

Also speaking to the journalists, Chief Goddie Ogenyi explained that the seed capital for the project was provided by the Enugu State Government through the N5million grant it extended to all the Autonomous Communities in the State recently.

Mgbuji community
Mgbuji community

Ogenyi remarked that the community unanimously decided to plough the money into the road project because of the importance of the road to the Mgbuji people; stressing that the initial seed money had since been exhausted prompting the sons and daughters of Mgbuji community both at home and in the Diaspora to resort to self-help to continue the road project.

Among the project inspection team was Engr. Hyacinth Ngwu, a seasoned structural engineer who offered professional advice at various points especially on the several culverts and bridges along the road.

The project inspection team visited many sections of the road project and the new roads being opened. The critical points on the road requiring urgent attention include Iyi-Asaa bridge, Obodo-Ede, Onumkpu-Ambrose, and Onumkpu Sunday Olinya Nwakpaka culverts. Scattered along the road are over 25 farm settlements involved in massive rice cultivation, palm oil production and small scale garri processing factories as well as bourgeoning timber business at Ukwu-Ekwu.

This timber, explained the President of the Community, is being exploited by the Development Union and exported to various parts of the country. This vast area also has large mineral deposits of lead, iron ore, limestone and refractive laterite that could be exploited by the government for the benefit of Enugu State.

Already work on the road has reached Igbede village where the greatest challenge is the Ador Bridge which links other parts of Mgbuji such as Okpokwu Farm settlement, Ngele-Aguiyi, Ugwuoka, Apagu and Obodo-Mbe. Mr. Onah Raphael who runs an agric processing factory at the Ulo-Umuogiri area of Mgbuji explained that Mgbuji people are committed to sustaining the tempo of work on the road primarily because of the benefit of the road to the economic development of their area.

In his remarks, the Council Chairman, Chief Jacob Abonyi expressed happiness with the leadership and people of Mgbuji community describing their commitment to the road project as a demonstration of uncommon patriotism and determination by a community to change their story.

He explained that the road is not only beneficial to Mgbuji community but to the entire Isi-Uzo LG and Enugu state at large, and pledged that the LG will explore areas of partnership with the community to ensure that the road is completed. He however suggested that there was need to approach NEWMAP to intervene in those portions of the road where erosion is creating huge problems.


Source: Malachy Chuma Ochie


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