The wife of the State Governor, Rev. Mrs. Eyoanwan Bassey Otu has flagged off the ‘Back-to-school’ project, through her Humanity Without Borders (HUWIB) initiative with an affirmation that education is one of the biggest investments that the State must make to bring about lasting and productive change for the future generation.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony at the refugee settlement camp, Adagom, the Governor’s wife inferred that “the greatness of every child and the greatness of Cross River state and Nigeria as a whole is hinged on the quality of Education that our children receive and the ease to which the child has access to education.”
Informing that the back-to-school project is geared at providing succor to the most vulnerable in local communities, the Governor’s Wife noted that the choice of flagging off the back-to-school project in a refugee school cannot be over-emphasised. “Refugees are considered from my view, one of the most vulnerable in our society,” she added.
Commending the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for their efforts and expressing her commitment to working with them, Rev. Otu said: “I am aware of UNHCR educational mandate which serves as one of the major protection pillars in providing support to both refugees and the host communities like Adagom, Ukende and many other areas where UNHCR operations exist.”
Giving a brief remark, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Stephen Odey who described the Governor’s wife as a lover of education, inferred that the intervention is the beginning of a new dawn. According to him, the flag-off is one of the most powerful events so far in the history of this administration, stating that the initiative is a precedent for all well-meaning Nigerians and Cross Riverians to follow. He assured that the Ministry of Education will give their utmost support and all that is needed to enable her keep this dream.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Agnes Atsu; Commissioner for Information Technology, Dr. Justin Beshel; Commissioner for Industry, Dr. Unimke Marcellinus Angioha; Commissioner for Commerce, Hon. Abigail Duke; and Commissioner for Housing, Dr. Beatrice Igwe, lauded the initiative by the Governor’s wife, describing it as the best form of democratic dividend. They explained that the initiative resonates love, compassion and humanity, pledging the support of their various offices in ensuring that the back-to-school project is sustained.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Senior Special Adviser Administration, Office of Wife of the Governor, Dr. comfort Oko, informed that the intervention is one of the pillars of the Governor’s wife, whose passion is touching lives and changing destinies, adding that “she understands what education means, she understands what lack of education can cause for a child, this is a community that is vulnerable and her excellency has come to render a helping hand and is calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to lend a hand,” she said.
The Chairperson of Adagom 1 Settlement, Madam Bibiana Ngwa appreciated the people of Cross River State, particularly the Adagom people for hosting them as refugees. Acknowledging that the lives of refugees exert a huge force of change in the normalcy of the people, she appealed for assistance in livelihood development, education, self-reliance, shelter, water and sanitation hygiene and health. Madam Ngwa pledged the readiness of the refugees to continually abide by the laws and cooperate with the Cross River State Government.
On his part, the Director SATWO Foundation School, Ogoja expressed his elation and delight at the initiative, informing that the project is a show of love that cannot be forgotten in a hurry. He appealed for support to pay the volunteer teachers at the foundation and to help sustain the educational needs of the people.
The event which had traditional rulers, political actors, representatives of UNHCR, political appointees of government among others had as highpoints song presentation by pupils of SATWO Foundation and cultural display by the refugees.