Meet 14-year-old Agulu Boy, Chibuzor Who’s Assisting Obiano with Infrastructure
Anyone who has any business at Regina Ceali junction, along the Enugu/Onitsha expressway, and who has to move across the main road to transact their businesses must know Chibuzor Okoye.
At a time when people are complaining of harsh economic conditions and steady loss of jobs as a result of the economic recession, 14-year old Okoye thought out a plan on how to help pedestrians who are constantly perturbed as to how to cross the expressway at Regina Caeli to the other side to conduct their business and return, and has long started the execution of his plan by placing a plank across the the very deep gutter for pedestrians to pass through.
Chibuzor who has a strange ailment, which an expert said may be a head tumor, leaving him with a head larger than his body in a recent encounter told WWW.ELEKENEWS.COM that he is working hard to get funds that will help him to correct his head size by removing the tumor through operation.
Chibuzor was at St Patrick’s Cathedral recently, where he spoke to our correspondent. He said he decided to come on hearing that the governor would be at the church for a function, to liaise with him and see how he could collaborate with the governor to help Anambra people who use the Regina Caeli Axis.
“I learnt that the governor would be here, that is why I came. I want to see him, so that we can say how to help Anambra people to be passing through Regina Caeli gutter freely.
“My business is going on well, I do not have a specific amount I charge people to use my walkway across the gutter, I simply let them give me whatever comes from their mind,” Chibuzor said.
Asked how much he makes per day, he said that on good days, he makes as much as #25,000, but on the average, he is sure of #10,000 daily.
WWW.ELEKENEWS.COM decided to visit Chibuzor in his business place to find out how things were going for him and found that truly, he does not charge anyone to use the walkway, but people simply appreciate him, and in that way he gets more than he would have asked for, if he were to put a price tag to his service.
It was observed that his biggest customers were aged men and women who rely on the plank he put over the gutter to take their farm produce from Mgbakwu to Eke Awka in town. Most of them are palmwine tapers too, and Chibuzor’s manual bridge help them to move their bicycle to the other side of the road, so as to access town, where they sell their wares. They also depend on him to return to Mgbakwu and other parts of the town that are only accessible by the bridge.
Female students too, whose residence are in Okpuno, old INEC road and others also depend on Chibuzor’s bridge to cross the road and board a bus to UNIZIK permanent site.
For Chibuzor, his worst patrons are young and energetic boys. He complained that they will never want to part with money, but would want to use his bridge. To stop them from using it, Chibuzor will always lie on the plank on seeing them coming, but his disappointment is that they will still jump over him, or even jump over the wide gutter in one fell swoop. For this, he has learnt to let young boys use his bridge for free.
Before the coming of Chibuzor, crossing from one end of Regina Caeli Junction to the other was a nightmare for road users. First they have to dash across the main road, then take a plunge into the gutter and wait for an oncoming pedestrian to hold their hands and drag them out.
For his services, Chibuzor Okoye has become a hero to some people who use his bridge every day on the course of their businesses. Some female students and farmers who spoke to Fides expressed happiness about his service.
Mrs Eugenia Njoku, an Ebonyi indigene, a farmer who lives in Okpuno said, “for some of us, Chibuzor is not just a customer but a child. I know he is a stubborn boy, but I think he treats people the same way they treat him. For me, he will not only help us with our load across the gutter, but will even hold the plank for us to pass when we complain that the plank may break.”
She said on their order, Chibuzor at some point had to use a stick to construct what looked like a handrail, just to ensure they were safe.
As if heeding Chibuzor’s plea for partnership, the state governor recently announced that the travails of users of that part of the town has come to an end, as government has made plans to construct pedestrian bridges over the road to ease movement and avoid road mishaps.
The governor, Chief Willie Obiano announced this at the opening of Roban Stores. The governor said the project will start this November and would have been completed in January next year.
visited Chibuzor to enquire how he hopes to generate revenue for his treatment when the erection of the pedestrian bridge stalls his job, but he was not at work.
A pedestrian said Chibuzor usually observes his rest at noon, and only comes out for business during the rush hours of the morning and evening.