By Anthony Awunor

At exactly 6:00pm on the 1st May, 2021 Ubulu Uku indigenes from different parts of the world hooked on to the Ubulu Uku Development Council (UDC) organised Zoom meeting, to discuss issues affecting their community.

Although, the turnout was a bit low, with about 39 participants in attendance. But despite the low number of people present, the deliberations were quite rich and reassuring, owing to the intellectual sagacity of the anchor person, Judith Ofulue.

Setting the ball rolling, Judith reeled out the agenda of the meeting and core areas to be discussed.

In response, President General of the UDC, Jonathan Monye opened up on state of things as it concerns security, electricity, roads, youth employment and Micro Finance Bank.

On Security, Monye pointed out that the issue of security is very important at Ubulu Uku. And for that, UDC has taken steps to boost security in the town. One of the areas according to him is that they are already in talks with the persons concerned, such as the Commissioner of Police, DPO and others.

He said that the vigilante members now have walkie-talkie to interface with each other but that more still needs to be done. He also said that UDC is working out better remuneration for the vigilante groups so as to encourage them to be more committed.

He said “Now the vigilante has walkie talkie at all the entry points. We want it to penetrate inside town so that they can do proper monitoring. We want to increase the amount of security levy and there plans too to insure the vigilante personnel. We have seen the Commissioner of Police, DPO. It is sad that Ubulu is still having a police post. We want to make it a Divisional Headquarters, at least with a minimum of 34 police officers. We need to put the building in order because as we speak, their cell is bad. We have also strengthened the vigilante group with more advisers”.

On Water project, Monye assured that the project is on course and that arrangements are almost concluded. He informed that letter of the project is already with the Authorities and that if fund is released, the scarcity of water will be a thing of the past in Ubulu Uku.

On electricity, the PG hinted that, light is not the issue as Ubulu Uku ha 18 to 24 hours light. He however, pointed out that the problem is electricity tariff, stressing that Ubulu Uku electricity tariff is even higher than that of Asaba.

“Ubulu Uku has adequate light. The problem is tariff and the solution is that everybody should have individual metre as against bulk metering. We are engaging Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC). Everybody should have their individual metres. You discover that power is shared even when there is enough light in the transformer “”, Monye said.

Corroborating Monye, Steve Okofar, a participant who contributed from Asaba also suggested that individual metering is the only solution to the light issue.

Okafor said the system of each house paying N3, 000 does not augur well, suggesting that a committee should be formed to monitor usage. This committee, he said should be able to go to users and identify what each house is using.

Responding to the amount of N3, 000 paid by each house, the PG clamoured for individuals to subsidise the rates, noting that, that is what many other neighbouring communities do. Catherine Williams also implored all to join hands to pay in funds to be able to cushion the sum payable.

Onicha Uku/Onicha Ugbo road was also discussed. and there were assurances that something will be done about it.

On youth engagement, PG pointed out that youth employment is another major challenge. He stated that some well-placed individuals are ready to give the youths jobs. He however, announced that Delta State government has a Vocational Centre at Ubulu where youths are trained on skill acquisition.

According to Monye, the Centre has trained over 300 youths and the cost of training one youth is N10, 000.

Educating participants on the Skill Acquisition Centre, Sir Byron Unini, another participant from Asaba said “The Vocational and Tech Centre is the only one in Aniocha South LGA and it is subsidised by government. Unfortunately, youths that come from Ubulu-Uku for the training is small. Ubulu people don’t show interest”.

Sir Unini said that at the end of the training, participants benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which gives out about N300, 000 to N400, 000 to them to set up their businesses.

Also speaking on youths, Augustine Awunor, who participated from Belgium said the issue of mentorship should be encouraged.

According to Awunor, a mechanism should be set up to advise and see to the plight of youths who could not continue with their education, due to one reason or the other.

Elder Emmanuel Amibor lamented about the closure of Ubulu Uku Micro finance Bank, stressing that he lost some money in the bank.

In his response, PG said “We tried to save the bank. We raised the money needed. In fact, the bank wouldn’t have gone under and the money is not supposed to go like that. Documents will be done depending on the stages. The good news is that we are setting up another Micro Finance Bank at Ubulu Uku with intent of over N50 million to N100 million. The MFB will have ATM and other accessories that commercial banks have”.

High point of the event marked the joining of Obi Chukwuka Noah Akaeze I who commended all the participants for the initiative.

In a very brief contribution, the Obi said he was aware all the challenges facing his people, such as security issues, court cases etc.

“You, my people have been marvellous. I am doing my Masters in UK and will soon round off. I also want to thank those who showed solidarity and made T-shirts during the court case. I thank you all”,  the Obi said.

Few donations were made while the following people participated from their different locations: Amaka Ejiofor, Godwin Mordi, Catherine Williams, Benedicta Ogunbiyi, Ifoloma Mordi, Christian Oseke, Victor Okafor, Chris Nwajei, Uju Onwubuya, Steve Okafor, Charles Ubaka, Pius Monye, Ebele Ijeh, Anthony Uzogo, Francis Emordi, Anthony Awunor, and a host of others.

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