Senate Chief Whip Orji Kalu on Tuesday donated bags of rice and cash to 25 widows of soldiers at 14 Brigade, Ohafia, who died fighting insurgency and violent crimes, IgbereTV reports.
Addressing the widows and members of the Nigeria Army Officers’ Wives Association and Nigeria Army Soldiers’ Wives Association, Kalu said the donation would ease the survival of the widows.
Loaded with various food items the hilux vehicles in the convoy of the Chief Whip of the Senate,led by the Senator himself, Orji Uzor Kalu journeyed to the 14 Brigade Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Barracks, Headquarters of Nigerian Army, Ohafia on the invite of the Brigade Commander Solomon I Kumapayi.
Senator Kalu on his arrival at exactly 1:15PM at Quarter Guard , 14 Brigade Ohafia was received by the Commander , General Tunde Kumakpai with a full Quarter Guard.
Asides other activities the sole purpose of the August visit by the former Governor was to interact with the Women groups of the Nigerian Army which include: the widows of the Nigerian Army whose late husbands paid the Supreme price in defence on the nation, the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association ( NAOWA ) and the Nigerian Army Soldiers Wives Association (NASOWA).
Soon after his inspection of the Quarter Guard, Kalu was taken on a brief tour of the Army Barracks where he inspected the facilities. The tour came to a halt at the officer’s MESS where Kalu met the women groups of the Nigerian Army who were already seated awaiting his arrival.
In her welcome remarks speaking on behalf of NAOWA, wife of Brigadier Kumapayi Mrs. Abiola Kumapayi expressed her gratitude to Kalu for the foodstuffs donating foodstuffs to the women groups. The coordinator of 14 Brigade of NAOWA highlighted the challenges as well as efforts put in place to support the women groups most especially the widows.
“We have the “Magajiyas” and the Widows in our midst, since 2019 when the Brigade commander came on board we instituted programmes to support ourselves. We recognise the challenges that we women have been facing by the virtue of the war going on and we found out that most of our women are at the receiving end most especially when the head of the family is no more, said Mrs. Abiola.
She continued “As women we have the children and entire home to take care of , so for the last one and half years we have carried out numerous welfare activities for them. We had the “back to school” programme in 2019 , where we gave out free school stationeries like bags, books and shoes because we didn’t want the women to bear the burden alone. We also gave them welfare packages to the women to celebrate Christmas and we also paid school fees for the children. In terms of business “We have two Keke NAPEP and two motorbikes which we use to engage in transportation business on behalf of the association which we use in generating funds from and we also get donations from people like you whenever they come on visitation. We veey grateful for your coming and we have received the gift with thanks that you brought for us, she concluded.
Having listened to their plight Kalu in his response directed the immediate provision of 10 motorcycles to assist the association’s transportation business in addition to the supply of 10 sewing machines. Senator Kalu also donated bags of rice to Officers and Soldiers wives and each to the widow. Additionally Kalu doled cash to the three women groups and the sum of N500, 000 to the officers MESS and N200,000 to the Soldiers club.
Kalu in his speech laced with emotions said ” When I was asked to visit by the Brigade Commander Kumapayi, my initial major purpose was to see the widows and the second purpose was to greet the wives of the Army officers.
“It is not easy to be a woman rendered a widow and you have not committed any offence because your husband signed to defend his nation. I genuinely sympathise with you. May God in His mercies sustain you as you struggle day and night to overcome the challenges of life,”
He continued;”On my entry into the Barracks I saw some things in place and I would like to partner with you in those areas. I am not here today as the Chief Whip but as Senator representing you people in Abia North to see things by myself and see how we can assist and encourage you people in securing not just our constituency but the entire state.
“It’s an honour to be a member of the Nigerian Army and to defend your country. Officers and men of the Nigerian army should never allow tribalism come into the army . They should not allow religion or any other factor divide the army and at all times your loyalty must remain with the commander in Chief and the Chief of Army staff.
I am very proud of what I have seen in terms of the amount of things put in place by the Brigade, I saw multiple Solar powered boreholes, a lot of senior officer’s houses.
“I also appreciate the NAOWA and NASOWA for their sacrifices in allowing your husbands to continue fighting for the country especially the fight in Northeast, Northwest and all other areas in their battle to keep the nation United, it is indeed a huge sacrifice. I want to encourage you all , it’s difficult to see men leaving their wives in order to go and defend their country , I also want to thank the officers for the great pride they take in wearing our uniform. It’s an honour to be a member of the Nigerian Army and to defend your country, Kalu said.
In his remark, the commander thanked Kalu for his visit and support for the widows and women associations.
Kumapayi also expressed the hope that Kalu’s visit would help to bring solution to some of the challenges facing the brigade.
He said that the brigade contributed in no small measure to national security and keeping Abia safe for residents and businesses.
In his words ” It is pleasure as the outgoing commander 14 Brigade to host you today, like the saying goes “Solider go Soldier Come Barracks remain” but I can assure you that whatever you have pledge will be implemented here.
“We have taken time to introduce you to some of the challenges that we have as a Brigade and with your intervention we know that in the coming year the Brigade will be better. Also we are very happy that once again you have thrown your heavy weight behind the women of this Barracks I mean the NAOWA , the NAOWA, and the widows whom we call the Sisters of Jesus and Mohammed and they are happy for your kind gesture.
“The period I have spent in Ohafia has been highly rewarding. Most of the great women you see here don’t have their husbands present some are in the Northeast, Northwest and North Central and even within Abia they are spread across all the Senatorial districts trying to ensure that Abia State is peaceful. We want to assure you that we shall continue to maintain peace and law abiding citizens should go about their lawful duties peacefully and these women have been very cooperative and supportive with one another.
“The women have taken care of the home and children professionally even with the absence of their husbands. Taking about National security if Abia is peaceful and our Neighbouring state is Ebonyi,Akwa Ibom or Rivers is not peaceful there will be an influx of insecurity to this state. I want to pledge to you that our loyalty to the commander in Chief and the Chief of Army staff is unflinching, loyalty in the Army can never be 95% it must be 100%; I am blessed to have these men in 14 Brigade because they have been very loyal. I thank you once again for your visit, he concluded.
Some of Kalu’s entourage includes: Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu ; former Chief of Staff to Abia State Government, Hon. Mascot Uzor Kalu ; former Deputy Chief of Staff to Abia State Government, Dr . Madukwe Ukaegbu ; Director General of Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, Rev. Mrs Jemima Kalu among others .
Asides the Commander and his wife others were ; Commandant Command Secondary School, Ohafia Colonel F.F.Tchileh, Mrs. Dorathy Otta, Mrs Ikilima, Mrs. Mary Obaghama, Mrs. Mercy Wahab, Mrs. Blessing Aduma, Mrs. Ruth Nnadozie.