By Inyali Peter, Calabar
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu, yesterday commissioned the first ever bank with Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in Bekwarra local government area of the state.
The bank, Unical Microfinance Bank (UMFB) is located in Ibiaragidi, Bekwarra and was a fulfilment of the promise made by the VC who doubles as the Chairman of the bank during a function in the local government in August this year.
Speaking at the event, the VC, nicknamed “Mr. Project” because of the massive infrastructural development he has brought to the institution said that he was always uncomfortable when he remembers that Bekwarra need to travel miles to Obudu or Ogoja for any bank related transaction.
While assuring that he will continue to support the bank to grow and meet the needs of the people, he added that community development has been one of the core values he gives so much attention to in all the leadership positions he has served.
He enjoined leadership of the local government to always protect staff and properties of the bank to ensure smooth service delivery.
The development however has attracted plenty encomium from many Bekwarra sons and daughters who said that they would’nt have asked for anything better at this time.
Paramount Ruler of Bekwarra, His Royal Majesty Linus Ogbeche Odey described the bank as one of the best things that has happened to them in recent times.
He applauded Prof. Akpagu and the management of UMFC even as he assured that they will protect the bank and its staff jealously.
Also reacting to the development, a Lecturer in the department of Curriculum and Teaching, University of Calabar and indigene of Bekwarra, Mr. Samuel Odey said that he was so excited as the bank will bring in multiple development to the local government.
Odey said that “I sincerely thank the VC who thought it wise that Bekwarra should have a branch of The UNICAL Micro finance Bank. It is a complete show of love that has numerous multiplier effect on different aspect of life”.
He added that “Firstly he has positioned Bekwarra on the Global banking space, the bank will help increase the culture of saving much more money in every Bekwarra resident who hitherto was using the excuse of distance to keep his money at home.
This kind gesture of his will equally save so many lives. So many persons have had terrible accident on transit to Ogoja or Vandeikya in Benue State to have a single bank transaction, so he has saved so many lives whose thank you he may not hear. Lastly he has reduced the number of unemployed persons in Bekwarra”.
On his part, Emmanuel Olayi, another Bekwarra indigene and a Lecturer in the department of Nursing, University of Calabar said that the development “may mean nothing to some bearing in mind that the University is only in for business but I dare to say; this has been one of the major yearnings of the Bekwarra people”.
He maintained that “Records holds that at the moment this will be the only Bank in existence after the Community owned Microfinance Bank went into extinction many years ago, this feat has received applauses from members of the Bekwarra community residents at home and even abroad especially that they have a bank outlet situated in the local Community with full banking operations including two Automated Teller Machines for convenience of customers”.
Olayi added that “I am also aware that the opening of this banking outlet has created job opportunities for qualified indigenes/residents of Bekwarra.
Bekwarra is in dare need of meaningful development and any efforts made in this regard no matter how little and from whatever end deserves a special mention and appreciation.
To the Vice Chancellor know that the Bekwarra people remain grateful and to all who worked tirelessly to see to the Completion of this project thank you”
Similarly, another Bekwarra indigene and Lecturer in the department of Computer Science, Cross River University of Technology, Mr. Otiko Tony said that “I want to start by thanking the legendary Vice Chancellor of the university of Calabar who doubles as the Okungbo 1 of Bekwarra who has shown capacity by fullfiling his promise of establishing a branch of the UMFB in my village.
I can as well refer to him as a promise keeper. This Bank means a lot to our people. Before now, we waste a lot of manhour and money going to neighboring LGA, ogoja or even Vandeikya in Benue State to make withdrawals from ATM but all of these is in the past now, all thanks to the performing VC.
I join thousands of Bekwarra people praying God to bless, sustain and direct his paths for changing the narratives”
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