To save Ezzagu community, Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State from hunger and illiteracy, a Catholic Priest from the area, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Njoku, has offered scholarships to 40 indigent students and distributed foodstuffs to over 120 vulnerable households. UCHENNA INYA in Abakaliki reports
Ezzagu community had its own ugly experience during the total lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. Hunger, just like every other part of the state and the country in general was ravaging the people. This may have made a Catholic Priest from the area, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Njoku, to distribute foods to the people to cushion the effects of pandemic on them and save them from total hunger. Njoku shared foodstuffs to 120 poor and vulnerable households in the community with each beneficiary getting 1 bag of Rice, 1 bag of Beans, 1 bag of Garri, 1 litre of groundnut oil and facemask.
The 120 beneficiaries included 40 pupils/students under his scholarship scheme and 80 households cutting across St. James Parish Ezzagu, St. Mary’s Parish Eguotu Ezzagu and St. Joseph’s Parish Eguhuo Ezzagu. Most of the beneficiaries are wretched widows, the aged, physically challenged, orphans and vulnerable children/adults. Njoku said he floated a scholarship scheme to ensure a better future for children of the community. “I began the scholarship scheme with the aim of giving a better future to the children of Ezzagu beginning from Seat of Wisdom Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools, Ezzagu.
“We began in 2016 with eight most indigent children. Today, we have 29 pupils in the nursery and primary sections and 11 in the secondary school, making a total of 40 beneficiaries. Our activities include payment of school fees, supplying them with learning materials, ranging from exercise books, pens, pencils and drawing items, black boards for all the classes, text books for all the subjects in all the classes for the teachers, and games equipment such as footballs and volleyballs.
“We also run feeding programs for all the pupils once I am around. We have embarked on the construction of a 3-classroom block with office and toilets. By the grace of God, this will be commissioned on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of my parents and the 15th Year Anniversary of my Priesthood on the December 30, 2020.
“We organized the distribution of palliatives first of all to the families of the children on my scholarship list and further to other indigent households across Ezzagu. The beneficiaries are 120 for now. We will never grow weary of putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged.”
The Parish Priest of St. James Catholic Church in the community, Rev. Fr. Henry Okoh, thanked God for the gift of their Religious Son and benefactor of the Parish. He lauded the charitable disposition of Njoku, describing him as a constant helper of the helpless, provident father of the poor and needy. “We all are eyewitnesses of the good works of Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Njoku in our parish and community. This is not the first, second or third time he is sharing palliatives to the needy. He is a doer of good always.
He is an unassuming and silent succour giver.” Fr. Okoh extended his words of appreciation to the parents of Njoku, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Njoku for donating their generous son to God and humanity. He prayed for Divine Providence upon the family.
A resident of the community, Emmanuel Nwite, a legal practitioner, said Njoku through his philanthropy has written his name in the sand of time. “God has sent another Fr. Ezeonu to Ezzagu through Fr. Emmanuel Njoku. While not sounding immodest, I have never seen a modern day priest who is passionate about the cause of his people as our Most Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Njoku. I don’t know how to appreciate him but one thing is sure; he has written his name in the sands of time. At the fullness time, he will be celebrated.
Thanks a million Padre”, he said. The beneficiaries, including Nwafor Oshine, Nwankwo Otubo, John Obura, and Orugbala Monica, expressed gratitude to their benefactor and prayed God to continue to bless him. Another beneficiary, Maria Oluchi Ituma from Ngbo, Ohaukwu LGA of the state, said: “My destiny helper. I can never be able to thank you enough in this life and in my next life to come.
You bent down and allowed me use your back as a ladder and l am very happy you are doing same for the people of Ezzagu. May God keep blessing you Fr. Emma Njoku.” In an interview, Nwonu Timothy, said: “I am not a Catholic but my love for Rev. Fr. Emma Njoku knows no bounds.
He is a humanist, a lover of the poor and downtrodden. You always find him around the poor and rarely see him around the high and mighty, where his class actually belongs. May God bless you father.” “One of the women who benefited from the palliatives you shared today through your church told me in confidence of how you have given her hope and reason to live again. We love you Fr. Emmanuel Chukwunonyelum Njoku.” Eke Matthew Afam in his stead said: “Rev. Fr. Emma Njoku, I don’t know how to start talking about your good deeds possibly because I’m morally bound to think that every analysis I may give may be influenced by my childhood love and the influence you had in my adolescent upbringing.
“Fr. I come to know of your philanthropic activities in Ezzagu about four years back. So many fathoms of wrappers, bags of rice, different condiments and different amounts of money distributed to the poor in our community. I just want to say, thank you for all the things you have been to us. I pray God that you keep being the blessings to humanity. Thank you Rev. Fr. Emma”. Also Speaking, a resident of the community, Godwin Ezaka, who was among those that distributed the palliatives to the beneficiaries said: “We took off on Saturday from Abakaliki with a Lorry load of Relief Foodstuffs, comprising 120 bags each of rice, beans, garri, 120 cartons of Indomie Noodles (Supreme), 10 cartons of Groundnut Oil each containing 12×1 litre, and more than 120 pieces of facemasks. They are meant for 120 poor and vulnerable households of Ezzagu starting with 40 beneficiaries of Fr. Emmanuel Njoku’s Scholarship Scheme and another 80 households.
Each household got a package made up of 1 bag of rice, 1 bag of beans, 1 bag of garri, 1 Carton of Indomie Noodle, 1 litre of groundnut oil and a facemask. Our first stopover was at St. Joseph Parish Eguhuo Ezzagu, the headquarters of Ezzagu Deanery, where we delivered 10 packages of the palliatives. “We continued our journey to St. James Catholic Church Ezekuna – Ezzagu where we delivered 100 packages of the palliatives. The remaining 10 packages were delivered to St. Mary’s Parish Eguotu Ogboji.
Having given this background, I want to heartily appreciate our Spiritual Director, who doubles as the Vice Chairman of Ezzagu Patriots Assembly, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Njoku, for his magnanimity to our people. As attested by the Parish Priests and the beneficiaries, this is not the first or second or third time he is sharing palliatives to the needy. He’s been quietly impacting lives positively. Givers never lack. Our prayers is that Fr. Emma Njoku will never lack anything that is good in this life and in next life. Goodness and Mercy will continue to follow you all the days of your life. God will continue to provide for you so as to engage in more charitable and philanthropic ventures”.