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As Flood Victims Await Palliatives

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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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Environment

Oil Spill: Farm Lands, Others Under Threat At Bodo

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Farm lands and other properties in Bodo City, Gokana Local Government Area are under threat following the continuous flow of oil from a ruptured pipeline allegedly owned by one of the multinational companies.
A community source informed The Tide that the spillage which occured last week in the area had continued to threatened both farm lands and aquatic lives.
According to the source, the spill has continued to flow from the pipeline, thereby posing a serious threat to the inhabitants of the community and their source of livelihood.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The Tide from the community, the Chairman, of Bodo council of Chiefs, James Boridoma Tete said the spillage is destroying farm lands in the community.
Chief Tete said the community could not ascertain the cause of the spillage.
“ I can confirm that the oil is spilling with a speed,” he said.
He stressed the need for a joint visit between the community and the company which owns the pipeline with a view to ascertaining the cause and ensure that it does not affect the people.
“ I think joint investigation visit should be carried out immediately to avert unpleasant consequences that this situation can cause to the community inhabitants.
Chief Tete also said that if noting is done on the situation urgently, all farmlands in the area will be devastated.
“There is need to put this thing under control before more harms are done to our people.
“As am talking to you now, farm lands are being destroyed by the oil which is rushing out of the ruptured pipeline with a speed”, he said.
Chief Tete also urged the people to remain calm as the chiefs council is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that spill is contained.

By: John Bibor & Oribim Ibama

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Minister Advocates Co-Operation Among Water, Energy, Food Security Sectors

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The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has called for co-operation among Nigeria’s water, energy and food security sectors towards addressing all challenges hindering socio-economic development.
Adamu made the call at the opening of a three-day Inter-Sectoral Policy National Dialogue on “the Nexus of Water -Energy-Food Security” in Abuja.
The workshop was organised by the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and German International Cooperation (GiZ).
He said mismanagement of one sector could affect the viability of other sectors and compromise the livelihoods of the people and the ecosystem.
Adamu, represented by the Director, Water Quality and Sanitation, Mr Emmanuel Awe said the nexus approach reflected the interlink between Water, Energy, Food Security and Environment.
He expressed the need to integrate all sectors towards promoting positive impact, socio -economic development and management of resources.
Adamu said increasing activities due to urbanisation, agriculture and industrialisation, had resulted in the pollution of fresh water with serious adverse effects on health and wellbeing.
While expressing the Federal Government’s gratitude to the NBA and experts, he urged all participants to show more commitment for effective and efficient implementation of all NBA projects and programmes.
Regional Coordinator, Nexus GIZ and EU, Robert Kronefield and NBA representative, Bamidele Olatunji, said the workshop would strengthen stakeholders’ capacity in planning, policy development and implementation of the NEXUS approach.
The Tide source recalls that the first phase of the NBA and German Cooperation (NBA-GIZ) NEXUS Project (2016-2020) placed strong emphasis on regional integration of the NEXUS approach and capacity building.
The NEXUS project takes an integrated view of the water, energy and agriculture sectors, as these are all competing for the same scarce resources.
It allows an optimal balance of interests in the use of resources, manage conflicts and human rights risks appropriately, and respect the limits of the planet’s ecological resilience.

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‘Why WASH Facilities Are Not Working In Rural Communities’

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A Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) specialist, Prof. Sunday Iboro Sunday has blamed the non functioning of some WASH facilities in rural communities in the state on lack of proper maintenance.
Sunday said this at a recent WASH event organised by the Rivers State Rural Water Supply and sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) in Port Harcourt.
He said the situation has underscored the need for the authorities to build the capacities of the rural dwellers towards maintenance of WASH facilities in their areas.
Prof Sunday who is of Theme Global, a consultancy firm said the firm is interested in the areas of capacity development.
“Don’t forget it doesn’t stop about just putting water resources facilities, there is a soft component which is capacity building.
“We are here to look at the Local Government what do they have, we started with WASH, what is the component of WASH, what do they have on ground” he said.
The WASH specialist said his firm is accessing the various local government councils in the state to see if they have the capacities to maintain WASH facilities sited in their areas.
“We are interested in capacity building to look at the gap why they are not like that, because you will soon see when we start rolling out the result.
“Rivers State, I can tell you now that over 50 percent of facilities we have are not even working”, he said.
He said effort will also be made to see if the problem is from the people or the qualities of WASH facilities in the affected areas.
“That will form some of the discussion we are going to discuss. We are looking in terms of what is it the technology that is faulty? Is it the people”? he said.
He commended RUWASSA for the programme, stressing that it will help stakeholders to come up with the best possible ways of ensuring proper maintenance of WASH facilities in the rural areas.

By: John Bibor

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