Road Blockage in Awka Worries Bishop Okoye

…Appreciates, Charges Umuawulu Community over Contributions towards Church Building

By Precious Ukeje

Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, has expressed worry over the blockage of roads around the Nigeria Correctional Service office and Amawbia axis, in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Following the attack on the Correctional Centre in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, on April 5, 2021, in which hundreds of inmates were freed, and subsequent attacks on the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Imo State, the Anambra State office of the NCS, alongside the Nigeria Police Force, whose offices are housed within same area in Awka, had taken precautionary measures to forestall a similar attack, resulting in the denial of access to motorists.

Following this, vehicles coming from Eke Awka now stop at Works Road by Zik’s Avenue; while those coming from an Amawbia By Pass stop at the Amawbia Roundabout.

It has also increased the number of pedestrians in the area who complain bitterly of the stress they experience, walking to cover the long distance.

Fides investigations however found out that vehicle operators still operate towards Nibo and adjoining communities from Eke Awka. They access the road by Ukwuoji, just by the fence of Paul University, Awka, through Ifite Nibo villages to Eke Nibo and other communities.

This has caused an increase in transport fares from between N50 and N100 to N150.

The Catholic prelate, who made this known during a homily at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Umuawulu, while on a pastoral visit, Sunday, April 11, lamented that the blockage caused hardship for the citizenry who were forced to walk a long distance to meet up with where they could get vehicles to their destinations.

He said the situation did not present a good image of the security agencies, adding that the citizenry would lose faith in the agencies.

‘When you create the impression that you are scared of people whose life and property you are meant to secure, what would happen to them? the bishop questioned.

He also disclosed that he had sent messages to the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, urging him to direct the reopening of the roads to enable people pass without hitch, while he asked that men and women of the security agencies should dismantle the road blocks to ease movement within the axis.

In a related development, Bishop Okoye who was on a pastoral visit to the parish for the first time in eight years, appreciated indigenes of the community for their efforts towards the development of the their local community and also enjoined them to make further contributions towards the building of the church.

He also challenged them to make efforts towards reconstructing the church building for dedication within the next three years, while noting that they had the capacity, as well as indigenes who could solely take up projects in the church.

The bishop encouraged congregants in attendance to give towards the development of the church, even if it was painful; describing the pains as the scars they would present when they got to heaven.

Bishop Okoye shortly after the Mass, also blessed six projects donated by members of Umuawulu worshipping community, including a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary; a statue of St Joseph; an ultra-modern convenience; a borehole; Father’s kitchen built by the Catholic Women’s Organisation of the parish; and two classrooms blocks, one of which was constructed by Senator Uche Ekwunife representing Anambra Central Constituency in the National Assembly.