Hon Chinedu Ogah is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) representing Ikwo /Ezza South Federal Constituency in the House of Representative where he chairs the House Committee on Reformatory Services. In this interview with CLEMENT NNACHI, he speaks on security and a wide range of issues
Insecurity in the country has assumed a dangerous dimension, the trend has retarded developments including Direct Foreign Investments (DFI). What do you think is the best approach to curb this menace?
It is not about summoning the Service Chiefs to the National Assembly. Security is the ultimate. It’s about giving the security agents information, having connected with the people, It is a sign of checks and balances. What has the councilors in the villages done, what has the Chairmen of Councils done, It is a joint venture that involves everybody, a police man, or military men or Department of Security Services posted to Kalabari (Bayelsa or Rivers State), cannot know the itinerary of those areas when he is not working with the stakeholders and opinion leaders. Most of the people in the community connive in covering most of the bad eggs that come to destroy this part of the world. They should be able to expose such people and give the security agents information, we should stop blaming security agents, everybody needs to work hard in the aspect of security.
People have advocated the creation of State Police as one of the measures to combat insecurity. What is your take on this?
For me State Police is not the ultimate. This is because some people that are very selfish can misuse it. The major thing is that let’s elect leaders that the masses want. Example in Ebonyi State, the Governor was elected by the masses. Most of the insecurity in the state have fizzled out. There is no land and boundary disputes again in Ebonyi State. Before now, we had crises between Ikwo and Cross River, Izzi and Cross River, Effium and other places, all those things have been eliminated because Governor Francis Nwifuru knows and does what the people want. The population of schools in Ebonyi State has increased because the administration paid salaries and bonus to civil servants making them to pay their children school fees. The policy has reduced crime in the state. Whoever is looking for crime is looking for stomach infrastructure.
Having been to the National Assembly for some time now, what areas/sectors have you recorded remarkable achievements?
Most of the bills I initiated, that could not be assented to by the President. I represented those bills. In the absence of bills, motions and petitions, I have 15 bills, eight petitions, about five motions that were sponsored by me. In terms of infrastructure, we already have 10 km road asphalt- ed that are ongoing in various parts of my constituency. We are building bridges in different parts to connect communities; we are constructing a bridge in Ezza South linking Amudo, Onicha local government. Besides, a bridge linking Ndega Echara and Alike in Ikwo lo- cal government areas have been completed. We are doling out housing projects to some indigent persons, there is one in Ezza South, another one in Akunakuna in Ikwo Local Councils.
On Education, I attracted three classrooms in each of my constituency. It is going on in all this primary and secondary schools in the constituency. We have education materials which we have distributed, we have paid for WAEC fees for about 507 students. By 13 February 2024, we will pay JAMB fees for 500 students, we promise to do the same thing for NECO students. We are do- ing this to make sure that the indigent students whose parents cannot pay their school fees are able to access education. On Agriculture we have procured 20,000 bags of urea, which we shared to the farmers on July 2023. We assisted some of the farmers to enable them start their own business. On youth empowerment, about 150 youths have been given grants, we bought 150 motorcycles and shared to all the youths to enable them put food on their table.
So, 150 youths that secured admissions, we enrolled them under scholarship by paying their school fees. On employment, from 13 June till now, we have secured 120 employments, before now we secured 850 employments, for this second term we have secured 150 employments in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). In water resources, we have some water projects that is on-going. We have installed some solar street lights, we have completed bridges in Item Amaegu and other places On health, we have attracted drugs and hospital equipment, both in the National Primary Healthcare and in all Development Centers.
Give us an insight of the nature of relationship existing between National Assembly members of Ebonyi extraction and the state government?
Governor Nwifuru is giving friendly hand to all the National Assembly members. In many other aspects, we are caring for elderly people, we are doing much to make sure we cater for them, We have done so much in making sure there is peace among us, peace among the stakeholders, inter-state where we are coming from.
How would you assess the administration of Governor Francis Nwifuru n terms of delivering democratic dividends to the people?
Everybody in the state is happy. We are proud to associate with him. Every person that served for 35 years in service is receiving his gratuity immediately he/she retires. Law students received N300,000 each from the state government. The same is applicable to health and agriculture and traditional rulers. The State government is building duplex for royal fathers in addition to construction of two- kilometer road leading to their various houses. In the area of infrastructure, a lot is on-going, the governor has empowered 2,500 youths by giving them N2 million grant to set up businesses of their own. Ebonyi State is blessed in terms of governors that have served the state. Starting from Dr. Sam Egwu, Chief Martin Elechi; Engr David Umahi and now Hon Francis Nwifuru.
The present Federal Government has offered sensitive ministerial appointments to people from South-East extraction notably Minister of Works unlike before. What is your message to Ndigbo, regarding embracing the APC and giving support to the Federal government?
Yes, people should stop believing those Yahoo people that do not stay in Nigeria. They should believe in we that are resident in the country. President Bola Tinubu loves Nigeria; he loves the Igbos. Watch out most of the projects captured in the 2024 budget will benefit the people of South-East. Watch out some critical people working with President Tinubu, they are true sons/daughters of Igboland. I am watching most of those sycophants who do not know what government is all about, let us join hands to develop our country. What we need is for us to have patience and to believe in each other.
The sit-at-home order is affecting the peace and economy of the South-East. All efforts made to dissuade people from observing it have proved abortive. What is the way out of this quagmire?
You know Ebonyi State does not observe sit-at-home order. This is because the people believe in the government of Hon Francis Nwifuru. Everybody is being carried along, am urging other state governments to look inwards concerning this youths and engage them. Let us do what is needful by carrying ourselves along.