Ebonyi to reduce school fees, set aside N2.6bn SME fund for youths

By Victor Nwegede

Ebonyi State government has said  its plan to reduce school fees is still on the process to ensure students go back to their schools as a means of assisting their parents.

This statement was made by Governor David Umahi in a state-wide broadcast on the recent invasion of hoodlums into the state on Tuesday.

"We are working on how to assist our parents to ensure our students go back to school by reducing school fees, but you must know that there is opportunity cost, when one is done, another one may not be done because of our meager resources," he said.

Umahi also disclosed that his government has set  aside the sum of 2.6bn SME fund for Ebonyi youths.

"I have today set aside the sum of 2.6bn SME fund for organized youths cooperative in all the Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State. Let us dialogue on how you could benefit from it. This is aside from the over 100 Executive Council members, over 1100 TAs and over 2000 Ebonyians who occupy political positions in the state of which 90 percent of those who occupy this political position are youth and over 30 percent of them are also women. 

"We have done a lot in our empowerment program including the One Man, One Hectare of Land which over 2000 youths are participating," he added.

Earlier, the governor apologized to Ebonyians for the crippling of the state activities by hoodlums who came to loot and kill people on Monday 26th October, 2020. 

He condoled security agents and other people who lost their lives yesterday when the hoodlums entered the state, and expressed sympathy to all  victims of the incident.

Governor Umahi claimed that he knew the hoodlums who recently invaded the state and destroyed lives and properties in his state.

"On Tuesday, the 20th of October, 2020, those who invaded our state and destroyed our infrastructure came from outside. Yesterday, Monday, 26th October, 2020 those who came are Ebonyians from a particular village and a Local Government in the name of IPOB. 

"We know these people, we know their fathers. Same people that abducted some policemen who were on peace mission in their community sometime last year even though the policemen were later released by my intervention.
"I have offered details here so that you know we know you very well and you are responsible for the killing and looting in your state using the cover of IPOB. I refuse to buy into this as a criminal is a criminal and criminality is criminality. 

 "I, therefore, appreciate our security agencies for their maturity and listening ear to me yesterday not to retaliate. However, it is unconventional for people to invade a police station, burn the police station, kill the police people and take their guns. 
"It is uncommon for you to attack the army who were protecting you, strategic government assets too and yet they remain unprovoked. Security agencies in the state have asked me to please plead with you to stop attacking them and burning their stations", he said. 

He however, assured Ebonyians that more security agencies were deployed from outside the state last night to protect them in the state. 

He equally maintained that social-economic activities in Ebonyi State must return back, urging individuals to go about their normal businesses in peace.

He further said: "To our young children who are hiding under IPOB to kill us, we do not deserve it, our government has done their best to give you good governance, where we have failed as human beings, I here again offer my apologies with a firm offer and promise to make amends with your inputs. 

"Today, I plead with these young hoodlums killing us in the name of IPOB to withdraw peacefully to their houses. Security agencies must please give them peace to do so. They must be allowed free access to return to their communities.
"I will compensate all families whose loved ones were either injured or killed during this unfortunate period, whether security agencies or civilians or even these hoodlums. 

"On palliatives, we have shared all palliatives we bought for our people. 

"You are aware that we spent billions buying palliative which we shared to you, polling unit by polling unit irrespective of political alliances. 

"We reached over 600,000 Ebonyians including those in Lagos and Abuja, the little one left now is left for our Ebonyi State University Students who were not in session. 

"School has resumed; they have started carrying their items, the only items left are being taken now by students and they are 50 bags of just 10kg rice, 200 bags of 20kg rice 1,500 cartons of tin tomatoes, 2000 gallons of oil, 2000 cartons of noodles and these items for the students put together is not up to what we gave to polling units. 

"We do not have any palliatives unshared. We have gone ahead with both the state and Local government to make provision for the second phase of palliative slated for December for our people. 

"We have stood with our people in this trying period notwithstanding our meager resources. 

 "I again plead with our young ones, please, no more attacks, no more destruction of our common asset, no more killing us, killing you or even security agencies. 

"Together we are strong and together, this moment will pass over us to the glory of God."

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