The UK and Northern Ireland chapters of the pan-Igbo cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have announced their commitments to planting one million palm trees in Nigeria’s south-eastern region, to bolster local businesses.
This announcement came following a visit to London by the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
In a statement released by the organisation’s media consultant, Asa Blessing-Chijekwu, it was revealed that the Ohanaeze president in the UK, Lady Aqueen Ibeto, emphasised that the palm tree planting initiative will primarily focus on the south-eastern states.
The statement conveyed Ibeto’s disclosure that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo UK is collaborating with its members to secure substantial land for the project. Additionally, the group has already secured a location in Enugu, where a skill acquisition centre will be established. This model will then be replicated in other states in the region.
Ibeto shared, “We are bringing our care back home and have secured the release of 20 inmates from the maximum security prison in Enugu, hailing from various south-eastern states. Our efforts in development extend back home to impact lives within our country and zone”.
She further highlighted her leadership role in the Adaure Igbo Women Association, a significant women’s group both in the UK and Nigeria, now expanding into the United States. The cultural and education departments of Ohanaeze have been actively contributing to the betterment of their members’ lives.
Ibeto noted, “We initiated a Congress of Igbo leaders to promote peaceful coexistence among our people, resulting in the creation of the Igbo Festival of Art and Culture. We have decided to make Ohanaeze unique as it is the apex organisation for Igbo people worldwide.”
Ibeto added that plans are also underway to harness and utilise financial contributions made by sons and daughters of the land to support Igbo men in their businesses in the UK. The criteria for accessing these funds will be reviewed and assessed during the upcoming celebration of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Day, scheduled to take place in Coventry, UK, on August 12, 2023.
Expressing admiration for Iwuanyanwu’s exemplary leadership qualities, Ibeto also emphasised that prior leaders and elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the UK were consulted before embarking on any project.
In response, Iwuanyanwu praised Ibeto’s visionary leadership and assured her of a successful completion of her four-year tenure.