The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, Tuesday, fulfilled his promise and handed out a gun-boat to the Nigerian Naval Outpost in Onitsha as well as15 speed boats and seven water ambulances to give a new lease of life to the riverine communities in Anambra State.
The gesture represents a whole paradigm shift in successive interventionist efforts by the Anambra State government to open up the riverine communities most of which had been cut off from the rest of the state by the lack of access to modern water transportation system.
Presenting the speedboats to the jubilant crowd that gathered at Okoti Odekpe in Ogbaru Council Area, the governor said the effort was intended to facilitate movement across the water channels in the state and bring the riverine communities closer to their kit and kin on the mainland.
According to him, the newly formed marine transport scheme would open a whole new vista of academic excellence for school children in the area and their teachers who have had to endure extreme challenges to access quality education.
The governor further remarked that apart from the speedboats, the seven water ambulances would come in handy in cases of emergency to offer respite to medical cases that require urgent professional attention. He also expressed optimism that the gunboat given to the Naval Outpost would increase the response rate of the Navy in the on-going efforts to wipe out crime in Anambra State.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Commander of the Naval Outpost Onitsha, Captain Dika Kwabe lauded the governor for donating a gunboat to the Navy, observing that with the automobile, his men would be better able to tackle the menace of criminals who use the water channels in the state to carry-out their nefarious activities.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha observed that launching of the marine transport scheme would facilitate the realization of the target of education for all set up by the state government.
Prof. Omenugha recalled that the government had also sought to accelerate the realization of this goal by increasing the salaries of teachers in the riverine areas in order to motivate them to put in their best.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Akabuike applauded governor Obiano for the water ambulances designated to the riverine communities observing that primary healthcare would no longer be the same in Anambra State.
He reasoned that for years, the riverine communities had suffered from the consequences of limited access to quality healthcare due to the difficulties caused by the peculiarities of their environment. He commended the governor for the initiative and assured that his ministry would put the vehicles to good use.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board, Chief Nzemeka Olisa had described the event as a historic one, recalling that the Obiano administration had also completed about 1370 classroom blocks since inception with 201 more under construction.
The highlight of the event was the governor’s symbolic ride in the naval gunboat and the mini regatta held by the Ogbaru community