By Jennifer John, Uzoma Ogoke, Ikenna Orioha, Imo
Indigenes of Ozara- Ihube community of Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State, have said they were living peacefully, comfortably and satisfactorily from the solid minerals (natural resources) which God endowed them with, but are worried over lack of social amenities like safe water, electricity and good road network.
They explained that apart from sand excavation which generates huge profits for the local government and the people, they equally make huge profit from the concrete which they mine locally including agriculture and trading.
One of the local concrete miners, Chinwendu Okoronkwo, an indigene of Ozara- Ihube, Okigwe, in a chat at the community with News Echo Newspaper team, last Friday, said that the people are predominantly farmers, miners and traders who do not depend on government nor individuals to eke out a proper living.
“We are predominantly local miners. Our land is richly endowed with solid minerals. We excavate concrete, sharp sand from which we make a good living. Ikpankwu Land is the place we mine local concrete. We use shovel and digger because we do not have the money to procure machines to fasten the excavation”.
Okoronkwo, while emphasizing that many families in Okigwe make a good living from concrete and sharp sand excavations aside from farming and trading, added that “a tipper filled with local concrete (stone) is sold at #9,000 or #10,000. Mining is a thriving business in Okigwe. Many people, particularly the youths, are positively engaged in the mining activity. Because of this, crime, cultism and youth restiveness are minimal at Ozara- Ihugbe community. We live peacefully and comfortably”.
He added that farming is a priority at their community as cassava, cocoyam, cashew, palm oil among others are mostly produced.
He mentioned that the major problems the people of Okigwe suffer are electricity and pipe borne water of which he requested government to look into, saying constant electricity and regular water supply would encourage productivity, boost economy and enhance socialisation.
“We lack electricity, water and good road network. Government should look into this infrastructure issue to relive us”, he maintained.
News Echo found out that the healthcare centre at Ozara- Ihube Okigwe was functioning as people access medication free of charge. The healthcare centre is located at the Central School of Ozara- Ihube.
“Our healthcare center is working. Indigenes are charged less fee for medication. We are okay with this development here, Okoronkwo said.