It was a day that would remain indelible in the hearts of the people of the agrarian community of Alihagu, in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State when the building site for the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, Alihagu was blessed and committed to the hands of God by the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku on Friday 9th July 2021.
The already ongoing modern hospital project, which is billed to be completed by December, 31st 2021, is being sponsored by a United State based illustrious son of Alihagu; Mr. Bernard Agholor. However, at the completion of the building, it will be handed over to the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku as the Diocese is to be in charge of equipping and running the hospital.
Rev. Fr. Jude Iloba while giving his addressing disclosed that in 2020, Mr. Agholor as a way of giving back to his place of origin, through Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien, the publisher, Ika Weekly Newspaper made known his intention to take up a project that will improve the lives of his people and a hospital project was chosen with the condition that the equipping and management of the hospital will be completely handled by the Catholic Church via the Catholic Hospital Board of the Diocese.
The Priest further revealed that the benefactor of the project, Mr. Bernard Agholor is only sponsoring the structure of the hospital, to that end, he then appealed for more support from all sons and daughters of Alihagu in equipping the hospital with the required facilities.
He also appreciated the benefactor, Mr. Agholor, the family of late Mr. Fred Egbonim for bequeathing the land for the project to the Catholic Church, and the family of Pa. James Oshiegbu for offering their piece of land as the entrance into the hospital.
Continuing, Fr. Iloba while expressing gratitude to the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Isselu- Uku, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Odogwu Elue for approving and accepting the responsibility of managing the hospital when completed, thanked the entire Alihagu Community for the sustained peaceful environment created for the project.
He used the opportunity to appeal to well-to-do sons and daughters of Alihagu not to be afraid of initiating and sponsoring projects that will help alleviate the sufferings of the people, empower the youth and create more wealth for Alihagu community.
He ended his address by reinstating that with the hospital coming on board, the Catholic Church of Isselu-uku Diocese has fulfilled the great postulates the Catholic Church is known for which are according to him, building a church; St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church, Alihagu, building of a school; St. John’s College, Alihagu and now the building a hospital.
Also speaking at the occasion, Very Rev. Fr. Onyebadi, the Chaplain for Catholic Hospital Board thanked the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku, Mr. Bernard Agholor, Mr. Steve Ashien, and Rev. Fr. Jude Iloba and gave the assurance that the completion target date of December 31st, 2021 will be a reality going by the pace of work at the site.
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Peter Uzor who was assisted by Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Aduba in his brief exhortation, reading from the Bible passage; I Corinthians 3: 9-10, stressed that the Lord is the builder of the project and will give the grace for the completion of the project.
Dr. Goddy Ibe a son of the soil on behalf of the Alihagu community appreciated the donor of the project, Mr. Agholor, who without any appeal from the community decided to give such a wonderful gift to the community.
Thanking and the Catholic Diocese of Issele-uku, he pointed out that the good seed sown by the Catholic Church in Alihagu is yielding good fruits.
Continuing Dr. Ibe appreciated Mr. Ashien for standing as the link between the community and the donor, Mr. Agholor as well as being able to convince the donor that the project can be embarked upon in the community.
He further reinstated the resolution of the community in ensuring that the security and safety of the project is the pride of the community.
Others present at the event include; Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Ike Aduba, the Chancellor/Diocesan Secretary, Sr. Francisca Osih, Matron of St. John Hospital, Owa, Rev. Fr. Charles, the Elders of the Four Quarters of Alihagu, Mr. Thomas Ashien, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Ashien, and the highly elated parishioners of St. Luke’s Catholic Church, Alihagu
The Parishioners of St. Luke Catholic Church entertained the guest with melodious songs and beautiful dance steps to the appreciation of all present.