NNEWICHI COMMUNITY EROSION SITE, WORLD BANK AND NEWMAP
THE COMMUNITY’S SAVE OUR SOUL CRY TO HON SIR MELIE ONYEJEPU.
Different Administrations passed and the wait for a response was to no avail, but a bright light showed at the very end of tunnel for the troubled and fear gripped community when hope was revived during the administration of Dr Willie Obiano.
The community took their complain and sad story to one of the God’s best gift to Ndi Nnewi and Humanity in general, Hon. Sir Melie Onyejepu, who was the then Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on budget planning, and explained the situation to him.
HON MELIE ONYEJEPU INVITES STATE GOVT.
Hon. Melie Onyejepu visited the site and immediately invited the Anambra State-NEWMAP, the Commissioner for Environment and Commissioner for Works for proper inspection, documentations and evaluation of the Erosion site.
The community also wrote a letter to the State Government and the State Government acknowledged that they will help coordinate affairs of the Erosion through Anambra State-NEWMAP, and that Hon. Sir Melie Onyejepu on behalf of the State Government will also negotiate with World bank so they can help with construction of the erosion site. And based on the promise, Hon Melie Onyejepu used all the arsenals at his disposal, including his already established contacts as a successful and renowned banker, to bring the World Bank to negotiation table and hence placed the project as a major priority albiet all others in the queue.
HON MELIE ONYEJEPU INVITES WORLD BANK.
Succor came to the community, when Hon Melie Onyejepu’s efforts paid off and the World Bank accepted to negotiate and got interested in the project, they asked the State Government to provide a counterpart funding (fund established as part of an arrangement for converting foreign aid) for the project, and it was also agreed that compensation will be paid to those directly affected by the Erosion. The community were astonished when Hon Melie Onyejepu announced to them that funds have been made available for the paying of the compensations and the State Government’s counterpart funding.
TEN (10) MAN SUPERVISION/MONITORING COMMITTEE.
A ten man project monitoring and supervision committee, under the leadership of Hon Eloka Ubajekwe was set up to supervise the claims and counterclaims during the compensations, they were also saddled with the responsibility of being the link between the contracting company that is handling the control works, Anambra State-NEWMAP and the community.
The compensation which was paid to all affected families at Obi Nnewichi palace was estimated to be more than Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only (#250,000,000:00), this funds was shared among them including those that had lands with economic trees that would be useful for the project and those that their land were washed away.
After the compensation, work immediately started on the Erosion site and the amount of work done so far is massive and highly commendable.
Nnewichi community lost over 20 lives and 30 houses to the erosion and it would have been worse – it was estimated that 60% of Nnewichi community would have been washed away by the Erosion if not for the intervention of Anambra State Governor, H E Chief Dr Sir Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano and Hon. Sir Melie Onyejepu.
CHAIRMAN MONITORING/SUPERVISION COMMITTEE, LAUDS GOV WILLIE OBIANO & HON MELIE ONYEJEPU.
Hon. Chukwueloka Ubajekwe the Nnewichi Erosion projects supervision and monitoring Committee Chairman, has this to say about the State Governor, Chief Dr Sir Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano and Hon. Sir Melie Onyejepu concerning the Erosion Site:-
“We later heard that one of our son was in touch with the World Bank but we thought that like other promises, that it will still end up as fairy tales.
Until one Faithful day, Hon. Melie Onyejepu called the people of Nnewichi and said a lot of things that almost no one believed, some persons said it was one of their political propagandas because another election (Gov Obiano’s re-election to be exact) was around the corner at the time this story came up, some people mocked him saying he was only trying to buy their votes for the Re-run.
Personally, though I’m a member of APGA, I was almost in doubt but I still had to play my role so there wouldn’t be any loopholes on my side.
Days continue to pass by until I was appointed the Chairman of the project monitoring and supervision Committee that was when we went to survey the Ravine.
I still thought it was a joke until I decided to see Hon Melie Onyejepu, that was when he assured me of the level of seriousness this project was about to embark on, that we the Committee members should play our part in every best way we can considering how ready the Government was.
Grassroot progress started as each person was assigned a particular area round the ravine for clarification purpose.
Finally, we were told to compile names of affected person for compensation, which was immediately paid. This was when everyone’s spirit came alive.
Caterpillars and other heavy duties trucks were immediately moved to the site, and in less than 6 months some areas were already repaired, work has been going on with all form of speed and without any form of retardation.
On behalf of the committee members and the entire Nnewichi Community, I want to thank the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr Sir Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano, Akpokuedike Global, Odogwu Omambala, Akpoo Aza na Nnewi, for all his show of love and cares towards the community and Nnewi Town in general.
We are also extending our profound gratitude to one of the God’s best gift to Ndi Nnewi and Anambra State, Hon Sir Melie Ifeanyichukwu Onyejepu (Ogbuefi) for hearkening to the “SAVE OUR SOUL” cry from the community.
It’s our collective wish that God and Ndi Anambra State will find him worthy to continue serving the State at a much higher level with bigger responsibilities.
Bona Ogbonna, narrator.