MAURICE OKAFOR also reports that the condition of ‘Uzabo Ojodo community, fondly referred as ‘Gabon Emene, a rural setting, which is less than one kilometre from the Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu and the nearby Nigeria Air Force military school ,Emene, is very unbearable.
The Bank of ‘Ekulu river provides them with all seasons agriculture but still they are in serious lack of social amenities.
From their rural abode, they can sight the beauty and trappings of Akanu Ibiam international airport, especially the take-off and landing of planes along it’s run way and tarmac but none of the social amenities and institutions are within reach of the community.
A reserved plain land that belongs to the Nigeria air force training school, Enugu base, separates them from the Akanu Ibiam international airport but no trespass is allowed hence, they remain in-communicado.
Comparably, the standard of civilization in the community imitates that of the stone age. Most of their houses are constructed with mud blocks with thatched roof. Even the new ones that are still under construction are made of same materials and wear the same look. The community with an estimated population of over three thousand people both adults and children doesn’t have even a primary school. It has no electric power supply not to think of pipe borne water. There’s no rural health center not to talk of a hospital within their vicinity. A road path that links the community to Emene town looks very dusty during the dry season and evidently impassable during rainy seasons because it is composed of clay soil.
One of the elders of the community, Mr John Nwoye told ‘The Authority South-East Voice’ that they are farmers whose grandparents originated from ‘Ezza’ in the present Ebonyi state. That they have lived in the settlement for over a century. However, most portions of the land which they were using as farm lands have been sold out to the Nigerian Air force, for establishment of Air force training school.
He lamented the lack of social amenities which he said has seriously caused a set back to their development, healthy living and social welfare. That their children trek the whole lot of distance to Emene town to attend primary school. The implication means that little children of school age most often do not start at early age based on the fact that they can’t cope up with the distance.
He lamented that their women suffer a lot especially during child labour due to lack of maternity and basic health centers. He said they have made passionate appeals to previous administrations in the state and the authorities of Enugu East local government to come to their rescue and are still hoping for their dream to come true.
Mrs Monica Ugwuanyi, through her pet project ‘Ugo Touch of Life Foundation [U-TOLF], about a fortnight ago, administered health care to women and children in the community.
Likewise, the Enugu base of the Nigeria Air Force as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR], took their medical outreach to residents of ‘Gabon Emene’ community, recently. In as much as the community appreciates these palliative measures, they are begging for permanent upliftment of their social status with accessible road, hospital, school and electricity.