The day NOWA fetes Banda community in Lokoja

Wives of naval officers in their quest for community development service are putting smiles on the faces of a community in Kogi state through their medical outreach. OYIBO SALIHU captures the recent inauguration of its activities in Lokoja zone.

The Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) was established about 54 years ago primarily to cater for the wives of the naval officers through improved welfare. The association also extended hands of fellowship to communities where naval base are established.

Apparently, the association since its inception has recorded a lot of achievements in the areas of establishing day care, nursery and primary schools to cater for the academic needs of naval officers children as well as the general public where naval bases are established across the country.

The inaugural ceremony

The recent inauguration of NOWA Lokoja zone in Kogi state not only  evoked smile on the faces of the residents of Banda community of Lokoja where Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS) Lugard  was established, but the association provided free medical outreach for the community.

The medical outreach which was headed by a naval surgeon, Lieutenant Philip Aigbadumah, who is the base medical officer, engaged the locals with health talk on how to handle minor heath challenges before moving to hospitals.

Aigbadumah revealed that over N2 million was expended on the outreach just to ensure that the community benefits from the programme.

The association also distributed over 500 mosquito nets to reduce the spread of malaria in the community aside free eye glasses that were given to the people with eye-related challenges. Free drugs were also provided against high blood pressure and high sugar level-related sicknesses after the patients were been tested by the medical team.

Also, beside the distribution of educational materials like exercise books, 60 desks were equally donated to the local government education primary school in the community. Over 300 pupils of the school were also dewormed with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Expectedly, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) headed by Alhaji Suleiman Ndalaye also donated 60 leaves exercise books to the primary school as part of their contribution to the association’s efforts.

It’s our community development effort- NOWA president

Speaking during the inauguration which was held at the premises of NNS Lugard in Banda, the national president of the association Mrs Theresa Ibas called on government at all levels to invest vigorously in community developments in order to improve the welfare of the people living at the grassroots.

Mrs Ibas, who is the wife of the current Chief of Naval Staff, Vice  Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, said that the establishment and the commissioning of NNS Lugard base Lokoja in November last year motivated the national body of the association to inaugurate NOWA in the base in order to render its corporate  social responsibilities to the host community.

She noted that NOWA which was established 54 years ago by past wives of officers of the Nigerian Navy has succeeded in promoting unity, improve the welfare of naval officers’ wives as well as the immediate communities where naval bases are established across the country.

According to her, “We are inaugurating the Lokoja zone of NOWA today to enable the association provide its social responsibility to the people of Kogi state.

“In view of this desire, we are soliciting the support of Kogi state government to enable the association carry out its numerous obligations to Banda and other host communities of the naval base in the state.

“We are also appealing to the state government to assist us in establishing NOWA primary and secondary schools in Lokoja zone to enable us provide quality education to the people of the state,” she said.

In her address, wife of Kogi state governor, Mrs Rashida Bello, commended the national body of NOWA for inaugurating the Lokoja zone of the association with a promised that her office would collaborate with the association to provide succour to the less-privileged in the state.

Also in her vote of thanks, the newly-inaugurated zonal director of NOWA Lokoja, Mrs Rhoda Olotu, promised to use her position to unify all the members of the association in the state.

“It is my fervent prayer to use this position to touch lives because the association is known for assisting the less-privileged in the society especially widows and orphans.

“I will continue with that to improve the living standard of the people and it is in our plan to establish NOWA office here in Lokoja so that we can effectively carry out our social responsibilities to the people.”

Mrs Olotu, however, solicited the cooperation and support of members of the association in the state towards a robust functioning of NOWA Lokoja zone.

Let’s support NOWA to move forward – NNS Commander

In his remark, the Commander NNS, Lugard Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, expressed optimism that the inauguration of NOWA in Kogi state would go a long in touching the lives of the people.

He therefore solicited the full cooperation and support of members of the association in the state to the zonal director of NOWA Lokoja to enable her move the association to a greater height in the state.

“Having inaugurated NOWA Lokoja zone, I am pleading for the support of the naval base in Banda about the activities of the association not only in Lokoja, but entire Kogi state and beyond,” he solicited.

Beneficiaries express happiness

Expressing her joy, one of the beneficiaries of the free medical outreach, Mrs Sara Raphael, thanked the Nigerian Navy for bringing the naval base to Banda in Lokoja local government, saying the inauguration of the association has shown to them that the community stands to benefit a lot from the association.

Mrs Raphael pointed out that the free medical treatment rendered to the community had solved many ailments some person had been living with over the years without any solutions due to their poor financial state.

She noted that the mosquito nets given to them would go a long way in helping them and their children against the spread of malaria.

One of the community leaders, Alhaji Ademu Usman, commended the leadership of the association for assisting the community in the area of free medical treatment.

He said,” This is the first time an organisation comes to this community to render assistance to us in the area of health. Our joy knows no bound and there is nothing we can say than to pray fervently for all the people that have contributed to this effort,” he said.

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