The member representing Bende Federal Constituency, Rep. Benjamin Kalu has promised to attract government presence to the Onuiyang community in Bende Town, as he paid an assessment visit to the Onuinyang Migrant School on Thursday, November 25th, 2021.
The community is made up of migrants who have lived and worked in Bende for over a hundred years, they occupy community hamlets where they operate from with a special school known as the Onuinyang Migrant School which provides a learning facility for their children. However, to access this school, the members of the community are subjected to cross a river known as the Ebele River using a bridge made of bamboo without rails which is also currently weakening and poses a huge risk to the members of the community. From the current state of the community, it has experienced strong negligence since independence even as different administrations of government have come and gone.
Also, due to the daily impact of climate change, the degree of flooding that comes with the rainy season increases the water flow from the river into the farmlands and crossing to access social life, medical services and other basic amenities have become near impossible.
As a community of migrant farmers, who produce large quantities of different kinds of food, they find it difficult to transport their produce out of the community.
Rep. Kalu expressed sadness for their current situation, especially the children who have to cross the sky bridge to go to school. He stated that this is contrary to the SDG 4 on accessible education for everyone, which communities like this should not be left out of. He watched in pity as some of the young children mostly below the age of 6, dressed in their uniforms tried to make their way across the bridge which is about 30m width, with some losing their learning materials in the quagmire.
Speaking to a youth leader of the community, he mentioned that all the efforts to make the bridge better have been futile as a result of the rains and flood, he added that sick people and pregnant women find it very difficult to cross the bridge the way it is.
Moved with compassion, the honorable member made a passionate appeal to the State and Federal government to give attention to this community. He said;
As you can see for 40 years, this farming community, producers of cocoa, palmoil, cassava, yam and other agricultural products have been challenged so greatly even after series of government with no single official coming here. I am the first to visit this settlement feeding Abia State and Nigeria. I commend the parents who are interested in educating the students despite these challenging situation. These people need help and they are entitled to quality living, they all have their voters card and they vote during the elections. I call on the State and Government to give attention to this community.
He also followed the children to the migrant school and observed that they were defecating around the school premises as there were no toilets and also they lack good drinking water, the lawmaker promised to provide toilets and a borehole for the community.
He went further to pay their school fees while distributing exercise books and other learning materials to the students.