For indigenes of Umuala Nsulu, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State, the face-to-face interaction with the contingents of army personnel in one of the classroom blocks of the community’s primary school could mean a normal routine, but for their pupils, having a handshake and the opportunity to chat with a General and team of neatly dressed officers is part of their lifetime history that they would always cherish as some of them may not have the opportunity again for such a privilege opportunity.
For some of the pupils, the visit is the spark that they need in their lives to commit their lives in the service and defence of the nation and its territorial borders from external aggression.
The visit didn’t just provide the opportunity for the children to meet the military personnel, but a day the head of the security service; Brigadier General Abdul K. Ibrahim and his team came to positively impact the lives of the children to be studious and at the same time, provide them with the needed sporting materials to develop their interest in sports development.
General Ibrahim, who superintends 14 Brigade Headquarters; Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Army Barracks, Ohafia donated 2000 pieces of Exercise Books, Sports wears for both male and female pupils, Beverage drinks, footballs, packets pencils amongst others.
Speaking on the donation, Ibrahim said “We chose Nsulu Games village as our camp base because of its proximity to Aba and Umuahia. We felt that there is need for us to identify the needs of the community where we have our presence established. Since our presence at the Nsulu Games village, we have received a lot of love and cooperation from the community.
“Since we came, there has been no issue concerning security or otherwise. We are happy about that. We thought in the spirit of civil military cooperation, we thought of how we can reach out to the community so that the community will know that we value and respect them. That is the reason for this little event.
“I want to assure you that by the grace of God, this is just the beginning. We are going to see how we can dialogue with the school and see how we can help them because when you look at these children; very bright young people, some of us sitting behind started from a school like this or even in a more deprived condition. But you can see where we are.
“It is my prayer from the bottom of my heart that one of them will in the future become the Governor of Abia State. One of them cam become the President of Nigeria, Secretary-General of the United Nations. I hope that some of them who may be inspired by this visit to join the Army can also be Generals. The possibilities for them are limitless.
“We are all Nigerians. Some of us come from the Northern part of Nigeria. But we don’t have any problem; we look at these children as our own children. We look at the members of the community as our people. If a soldier is misbehaving, don’t go about fighting the soldier. Look for the leadership because anywhere you see soldiers there are leaders. The army can be likened to a moving train which has a driver that controls the movement and speed of the train.
“This is the offering that we have for our children. I want the books and the sportswear to go round the entire pupils. I am hoping that with the football and other sporting materials, the children can have training and I hope that it will be of very good help to them. Like I said, this is in the spirit of civil-military cooperation. We respect the community and other Nigerians and we hope that you will continue to cooperate with us.”
He also made a cash presentation to the teachers and members of the community.
A member of the community Austin Nwankpa and chairman school basic management committee said “I want to thank you sincerely on behalf of my people I want to thank you so much and want to say that this your visit is one of its kinds. We have had military men come here so many years ago, but we have never seen it this way.
“I want to say that an egalitarian society devoid of criminal and criminality and all vices exist in theory. So, this community is peaceful and loving, but it is not devoid of all these criminal tendencies which we are so happy that your presence here will reduce such tendencies.
“I want to also say that the school needs infrastructural assistance. The people here are peasant farmers. Since November this community has been in darkness because their transformer packed up.
“I know that your office might not be governance in nature, but you command honour and respect in every quarter. Before now, we used to share transformer with your camp and since you have come to stay, I want to believe that with time you will be connecting light to your camp and I wish to appeal that when you are doing that, you should remember us.”
The headmistress of the school, Mrs. Stella Ogbonna who couldn’t hide her joy over the visit of the military personnel said that they were happy with the donation and promised that they were going to make judicious use of the materials donated to them.
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The elated pupils presented songs as part of an activity to entertain their August visitors.