1. Since he assumed office in March, 2014, an almost countless number of people have approached Governor Willie Obiano for financial assistance for veterans of the Nigerian Civil War which occurred between 1967 and 1970. Some veterans have solicited for help directly while some individuals have approached the governor on behalf of the veterans. The pressure increased considerably when Chief Obiano on January 10, 2015, led the people and government of Anambra State to rebury those who died in the fratricide, but were yet to be buried properly in the traditional sense; the historic event, in which such leaders as the former Vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, GCON, participated, was known as Ozo Emezina.
2. Most of the veterans are now old and frail. Quite a number of them suffer from various disabilities as a result of gunshots and other war-related experiences. In other words, they cannot fend for themselves and many of them do not have relatives strong enough to take care of them.
3. The Anambra State Government under the leadership of Governor Obiano has been doing its best to help these veterans who spent their most productive years in defence of their beloved people but in the process sacrificed their future. A thorough analysis of the needs of these veterans by the state government has shown that health is on top of the priority list.
4. As Nigeria is this month marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, Governor Willie Obiano has directed that all Civil War veterans be provided with quality medical services in the state at no cost to the veterans. The veterans will receive medical treatment through the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme run by the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA). Even the token amounts paid at hospitals by participants in the insurance scheme for treatment will be written off by the state government.
5. The veterans are, therefore, required to register with the state health insurance scheme. A committee to conduct a census of the veterans is to be set up shortly under the leadership of Air Vice Marshall Ben Chiobi (retired). Members will include, among others, Col Emmanuel Nwobosi (retired); the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba; the Commissioner for Local Government, Town Unions and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Greg Obi, and the Executive Secretary of the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, Dr Simeon Belonwu Onyemaechi, as well as a representative of the Secretary to the State Government.
6. It will have a month to submit a list of all the veterans in the state. It is worth emphasizing that the list will be made up of the veterans in the state, regardless of whether they are indigenes of Anambra State or not.
7. Governor Obiano has also decided to include all members of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu who played in the 1970s and the early 1980s among those to benefit from the health insurance at the state government’s expense. This is in recognition of their preeminent role in lifting up the spirit of our people at the end of the Civil war.
8. Since its re-launch on September 14, 2018, the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme has registered over 81,000 individual participants who pay only N1,000 a month or N12,000 annually to receive a wide range of medical treatments, including advanced surgeries. Two hundred and sixty eight (268) leading hospitals are participating in the scheme, including Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku in Awka, as well as mission medical facilities.
9. The Anambra State Government would like to use this opportunity thank Anambra people who have been enrolling large numbers of their community members in the scheme. The government once again appeals to individuals who can afford it to enroll their children, wards and other family members in the insurance scheme as part of their corporate social responsibility as well as service to God. Organizations like social clubs and market unions can also enroll their members in the scheme.
10. The Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme is an eloquent testimony to the commitment of this administration to a caring and humane society. The scheme is in furtherance of the practice of our people’s age-long philosophy of “Onye aghana nwanne ya”. Each person from Anambra State is the brother’s and sister’s keeper.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.