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As Flood Victims Await Palliatives



Many state governments are yet to disburse cash raised from various sources to thousands of people affected by the 2012 flood disaster nationwide.

It would be recalled that flood affected many states of the federation some five months ago.

A nationwide survey showed that most of the governments distributed to various victims tonnes of relief materials received on their behalf.

The materials were donated by the federal, state, local governments, philanthropists, international and other humanitarian agencies that were moved by the plight of the victims.

While many states were yet to disburse cash, few others, however, gave out funds from their coffers, including money provided by the Federal Government to purchase materials.

In Sokoto State, the government said it had distributed cash and relief materials to all the victims based on need.

Dr Jabbi Kilgori, the State Commissioner for Environment, said the Federal Government donated N250 million to the 2012 flood victims in 11 out of the 23 local governments.

Kilgori told newsmen in Sokoto that the money had since been judiciously distributed to all the victims in the affected areas.

Kilgori also said the Federal Government donated 7,500 bags of assorted grains to the victims.

“All these have also been judiciously distributed to the flood victims in the affected local governments.’’

In Ebonyi, the state government said it would begin the disbursement of N400 million cash and other relief materials to the victims with effect from next week.

The Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Elder Umunna Igboke, announced this in an interview with newsmen in Abakaliki.

“The money is the N300 million and N100 million pledged to the flood victims by both the federal and Ebonyi government,” he said.

He said that the 2012 flood victims were yet to receive any form of financial assistance since the incident except the first batch of relief materials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The materials included bags of rice, garri and wheat.

According to him, the second batch of bags of rice, beans, garri, vegetable and palm oil, sugar, blankets, bath towels and wax prints donated by NEMA would be officially handed over to government for distribution to the victims.

Other materials to be handed over include packets of detergent, mattresses, nylon mats, mosquito nets, plastic cups and spoons.

“The state government also received some relief materials for distribution to the flood victims from the Nigerian Ports Authority.

“They include 200 bags of rice, 300 pieces of foams, 300 pieces of treated mosquito nets and 700 pieces of blankets,” he said.

Igboke, however, explained that the delay in the disbursement of the funds was not deliberate but due to some bureaucratic bottle necks.

He said the mode of disbursement would be based on the level of destruction suffered by each victim.

In Nasarawa, the task force set up by Governor Tanko Al-makura to distribute cash and materials to the victims began work since February 22.

The Committee was inaugurated by Al-Makura in December 2012.

It was charged with the mandate of ensuring that all those genuinely affected by the flood were identified to enable them to benefit from the intervention.

The Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA), Dr. Abdullahi Idris, said since November 28, 2012, the government spent N50 million to buy relief materials for the 94,358 persons displaced by the flood.

He explained that more than 200 communities were affected out of which 122, with 94,358 persons, were displaced while 2,000 hectares of farm land were destroyed by the flood.

Idris noted that the situation necessitated the relocation of the affected communities.

Idris said apart from the funds the state received from the Federal Government, it also got some relief materials from Dangote Foundation and would be distributed to victims soon.

Some of the materials already received from the Foundation include 350 bags of rice, 1,000 blankets and 1,500 bags of salt.

The Executive Secretary added that the agency took delivery of materials from NEMA and the Federal Government which includeed 500 bundles of zinc, 400 pieces of planks and 200 mattresses.

Idris, however, said shortly after the release of the N400 million by the Federal Government, more people began to come out with claims.

He said the State Government would not deal with them until after handling the 94,538 that were first captured in the inventory.

In Katsina, the State Government said it set up a Committee to work out modalities for the distribution of the funds donated by the Federal Government to the victims.

The Executive Director of the State’s Rehabilitation and Emergency Relief Agency, Alhaji Hassan Rawayau, said in Katsina that the committee had visited all the local governments affected by the flood.

He said the committee assessed the magnitude of damage suffered by each victim.

Rawayau said the Committee had completed its work and submitted the report to the State Government for approval.

He said the funds would be distributed to the victims “very soon”.

On the distribution of relief materials, the executive director said the Local and State Governments as well as NEMA had distributed materials worth millions of naira to victims in the affected areas.

In Port Harcourt, the Rivers Government said it spent about N600 million on flood victims across the state.

The Acting Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mr Godswill Jumbo, said government spent the N600 million apart from the N300 million provided by the Federal Government.

He said the flood affected about 100 communities and displaced more than 800,000 persons in the state.

Jumbo said the amount was used to buy relief materials for victims, including the N300 million from the federal authority.

The Press Secretary said the State Government set up a Flood Relief Committee, headed by his boss, the Deputy Governor, Mr Tele Ikuru.

He said some well meaning Nigerians also contributed relief materials for the victims in the state which was managed by the Committee.

Jumbo said the materials included food, clothing, sanitary items and special food for pregnant women, infants and babies.

He said all the items were properly distributed to the affected persons across the state.The Press Secretary said there was no monetary disbursement to any victim.

Jumbo stated that various criteria were used in distributing the materials, adding that only persons affected by flood were beneficiaries.

He said the State Government properly catered for the victims.

Jumbo said a Post Flood Committee was set up by government in the local government areas to distribute cassava and yam seedlings, among other crops, to affected persons.

He said farming had begun in some of the areas where farming was their occupation.

The Press Secretary noted that after the flood, the State Government did not receive any assistance from the Federal Government for victims apart from the initial N300 million.

However in Edo, most victims of the disaster in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo still live in pitiable condition.

Most of those whose homes were damaged by the flood, were squatting with relatives and friends.

It would be recalled that several houses and farmlands were destroyed by the flood.

Some victims of the disaster said that “we now live from hand to mouth” after losing their homes to flood.

They therefore appealed to the Federal and State Governments to fulfil promises made to them during their travail.

The victims, however, expressed satisfaction over some relief materials such as food stuff given to them by the government, individuals and corporate organisations.

A community leader in Ofukpo-Ekperi, Mr Saliu Rufai, however, said the residents had not received financial assistance from the government to rebuild their houses.

Another community leader, Mr Joseph Oshigbele of Osomeigbe community, said government only succeeded in taking statistics of the houses destroyed by the flood.

According to both community leaders, the hardship inflicted by the flood can only be understood better by anyone who cares to visit the community and see things for himself.

“As I speak with you, most of us are just struggling to resuscitate our farmlands which were destroyed.

“We have had to travel as far as Uromi in Esan North East Local Government Area to get farm inputs like cassava stems.

“This is part of what the government promised us and we are yet to get any of it.

“This is planting season for yam and by May, we will be planting rice and we have not gotten any of these farm inputs from the government as promised,” Rufai said.

“All we have received is the team which came to evaluate our damaged houses and also the fumigation carried out immediately the flood receded.

“Aside this, my people are expecting soft loans to enable them to get fully back to their occupation which is farming,” he said.

In Yenagoa, similar victims in various Bayelsa communities expressed concern over alleged delay by the State Government in assisting them to restart life, four months after the flood that hit the state.

Reports say that more than 70 per cent of the victims are disenchanted by the “slow response” of the government and its post-flood management committee towards their plight.

A widow who hailed from Zarama community, Mrs Rose Emokoh, said life had not been the same since she returned to the community after spending three weeks at a relief camp.

“Since they asked us to return to our villages, life has never been the same.

“We are yet to receive any assistance from government after all the promises they made,” she stated.

Another victim, Mr. Titus Akpere, a fish farmer from Odi community, said he was among the first batch of those who returned to their communities after the government closed down the camps.

Dasuki writes for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).


Sambo Dasuki

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Youth Group Faults Protest Against HYPREP



Following the protest that rock the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP)last Monday by some youth groups in Ogoniland calling for the dissolution of the governing board of the agency,s more groups in the area said the call is not necessary, as it was aimed at querying the pedigree of the Project Cordinator, Prof Neniibarini Zabbey.
In an interview with journalists, the Bodo City Youth Federation led by Joseph Lenu and his executive members said they condems in strong terms the protest led by the President Generalof Ogoni Youth Federation, Mr. Lagborsi Yaamabaana.
Group further warned that the youths would not take it kindly with any groups or individuals that want to undermine the peace and security of Ogoni land at this critical time noting that the organiser of the said Protest should tender an apology to the project coordinator and the Ogoni youths.

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Group Distances Self From HYPREP Protest



A concerned group under the auspices of Ogoni General Youth Assembly, has distanced itself from the protest organised by Mr. Legbosi Yaamabaana against the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) last Monday.
The President of the group, Comrade BarinekaTornwe in a statement said the Protest led by Yaamabaana was against the best interest of the Ogonis and would not yield any positive result.
According to him, Yaamabaana, a HYPREP contractor himself, would only be using the sweat and blood of Ogoni youths to push for more expensive contracts”, adding that the said youth leader “Yaamabaan is always on self-enrichment mode and never for the over-all good interest of the Ogoni youths”
Tornwe therefore enjoined all Ogoni youths to avoid him and rather support HYPREP to execute its core mandate of providing alternative source of livelihood to Ogonis through skills training for women and youths.
It would be recalled that recently, HYPREP concluded another training for 3,000 Ogoni youths and women in various empowernment skills, and pledged not to relent its effort in the interest of the people of Ogoni.
The president of the group, further alleged that “It is Yaamabaana’s plan to hijack the central youth training programme from HYPREP and run it a contractor”.
Tornwe however commended HYPREP for what it has done so far on the execution of its mandate, and appealed that it should stay focused on its assignment and not to allow treacherous persons to sway it into the wrong way.

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Minister Tasks RSG On Open Defecation



The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Terlummum Utsev has called on the Rivers State Government to fulfill it own agreement of ending open defecation by the year 2030.
Prof. Utsev stated this in Port Harcourt during a familiarisation tour to the Niger Delta Basin Authority (NDBA) facilities and projects in the State,
He said eradicating open defecation will improve hygiene, sanitation and health standard of the people.
The Minister explained that the visit was aimed at assessing infrastructure, programmes of the authority required to meet the agenda of President Bola Tinubu in ensuring a better society.
He said toilets must be constructed at motor parks with a view to enthroning hygiene.
“To end open defecation and enthrone hygiene, we need to construct toilets at the motor parks, hospitals, schools and public places to ensure the objective is achieved. So, the Rivers State Government needs to come on board.
“There is a need for us to build synergy between the three tiers of government to ensure that this is achieved.” he said.
The Minister also explained that access to potable water is part of the mandate of the Ministry, and assured that it will be delivered.
. “We are targeting about 500 hectares of land across the country under irrigation. We cannot succeed without completing all our dams that are under construction, ensuring we complete the projects.
“We will engage state governments in allocation of lands, while we provide water for irrigation, the government is supposed to give the Certificate of Occupancy to ensure that the land belongs to the farmers to avoid any issue with the farmers,” he said.
“The government is serious about improving the lives of Nigerians, ensuring food security, wealth creation and youth empowerment”
“Some projects that will drive this have been completed, while some are ongoing, we are determined to complete more projects and initiate new ones.”
It would be recalled that Nigeria currently sits at the top as far as open defecation was concerned.
The country took over from India.
It would also be noted that out of the 36 States in the country, only Jigawa State is open defecation free.

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