Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called on the Federal Government to build new dams and dredge major rivers in the country to check flooding.
Okowa, who made the call while addressing newsmen after visiting flood victims at some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, said five persons lost their lives to flood in the State.
He also urged the Federal Government to make efforts at de-silting Rivers Niger and Benue to deepen their depths to accommodate high volume of flood water.
He said the best way to end the loss of lives and valuables to flood was for the government to take proactive steps towards stalling perennial flooding each time neighbouring countries opened their dams.
He commiserated with families that lost persons and property to the flood, adding that state government had established 11 holding camps to take care of displaced persons.
He said daily feeding of the IDPs was a priority, and that medical facilities and personnel were in various camps to take care of medical needs of the inmates to avoid possible outbreak of diseases.
“I was informed by the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, when the team briefed me on Monday, that as a result of the flood, five deaths were recorded, not inside the camps but across the state.
“We have 11 camps that are currently in place and some of them are in schools and some others are in high places in some locations where the schools have been overrun by the flood water.
“Climate change, obviously, is becoming very impactful globally and it is beginning to affect a lot of issues. The sea levels are rising and so is the water level.
“Another issue is the dam in Cameroon. It always causes a major overflow in our river.
“From the preliminary information I have, what could be done is to build our own holding dams here in Nigeria and a regular de-silting of our rivers.
“And, that is not going to be the state government’s function. It is that of the Federal Government because of the type of dam that will be built across the river. So, it is going to be a major dam.
“So, I believe that it is important that the Federal Government will look into it very quickly and begin to start the process,” he said.
“When we look at the pains that come to our people cumulatively as a result of the flood and the destruction it brings, it is so huge and runs into several billions.
“So, I think that it is something that the Federal Government would consider building a dam across River Niger to prevent this from happening,” Okowa said.
“We are immediately taking care of the people in the camp, which is the first thing to do by providing food, security and healthcare for them here.
“They have been organised into groups and they are cooking for themselves and we ensure that there is regular supply of food items to cook. So, we are sure that they are not suffering from any form of hunger.
“We can see doctors and nurses here, living under the same conditions as the IDPs just to provide health care. In two of the camps, some pregnant women have already been delivered by the medical personnel.
“You can see that they are well taken care of. In previous years, after their return to their homes, we have always provided some form of assistance and we will also do so this year.
“We are always compassionate,” the governor said.
He called on donor agencies and well-spirited individuals to partner government in alleviating the plights of those affected by the flood, adding that his administration would assist them.
The camps visited by the governor included those at Ogbe-Afor Primary School and Oneh Primary School in Asaba and Ewulu Mixed Grammar School, Ewulu in Aniocha South Local Government Area.
Ogbe-Afor Primary School camp has 1,548 IDPs, Oneh Primary School, 1,684 IDPs and 1,475 in Ewulu camp.
Oba Counsels CP On Defense Of Nigerians’ Rights
The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has charged the newly deployed Commissioner of Police (CP) to Edo State, Mr Mohammed Dankwara, to defend the rights of Nigerian citizens in the State.
Oba Ewuare II gave the advice when he received CP Dankwara and other senior police officers in the Command in his palace in Benin ahead of World Human Rights Day Celebrations.
The traditional ruler promised to work closely with the CP in looking after the welfare of police personnel in security and thereafter prayed for the personnel in the state and Nigeria.
“We also pray that you do your best to ensure that policing Edo State is fair, taking into consideration fairness, equity, and justice. I will like a close working relationship with you from time to time.
“It is a credit to all of us. It goes to show that we have been looking after the police in Edo State very well. You have our support. We will do our best to ensure that your stay here is peaceful, useful, and impressive. As you know, we have you in our prayers”, the Oba stated.
Earlier, Dankwara paid tribute to the great Benin throne and solicited prayers to succeed in his assignment of fighting crimes and criminality.
“I know the importance of Royalty. I am here (Edo State) to do what is right. Even the Inspector-General of Police, who deemed it necessary and brought me to Edo State, knows why he brought me here”, Dankwara said.
Gunmen Abduct Four, Injure One In C’River
A former Accountant General of Cross River, Mrs Rose Bassey, was abducted on Tuesday along with three others at Uyanga axis of the Calabar-Ogoja highway.
They were abducted by gunmen who laid siege on that axis of the busy highway by shooting at the traveling motorists to force them to stop.
The Tide source reports that a popular evangelist in the state, Edim Edim Omin, was also shot during the process.
The evangelist, who escaped with bullet wounds, is said to be receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the state.
The incident is coming barely 24 hours after the State Police Command said it has deployed tactical team, including Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Squads, to that axis of the highway to safeguard motorists and commuters plying the highway.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the State Police Command, SP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident, saying the Command “is working to see that the four abducted persons are released unharmed”.
She reiterated that the Command is working to see that normalcy returns to that axis of the highway.
“It is a sad reality for us and as I speak with you, the Commissioner of Police is heading to that axis to assess the situation of things himself,” she stated.
It would be recalled that the Uyanga-Ikomita axis of the Calabar-Ogoja highway has become notorious for kidnappers in the past two months.
About 20 persons, including two medical doctors in the state, have been abducted at that axis of the highway.
The abduction of the medical doctors led to industrial action by the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) that demanded for their release unhurt.
Ex-Agitators Remorseful Over Protest, Tender Apology
The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major-General Barry Tariye Ndiomu, has cautioned the ex-agitators who were at the National Assembly to protest for their unconscionable conduct.
According to him, such actions will only discourage and retard the wheel of progress.
Gen Ndiomu gave the leadership of the ex-agitators the piece of his mind when he met with them at the conference room of PAP shortly after the protest.
He explained that he is making a deliberate effort to ensure that the ex-agitators live a more fruitful and purposeful life through robust investment opportunities.
“It is sad”, he said, “that the ex-agitators prefer to depend on a monthly handout”.
He, therefore, advised them to be patient, saying that efforts are being made to address their grievances.
He added that he was working assiduously to effect a more sustainable mode of income generation for them in the long term.
Meanwhile, Mr Aso Tambou, one of the leaders of the phase two ex-agitators group who also participated in the protest, apologised profusely for their misconduct, attributing their action to the misinformation peddled by some of their colleagues.
Tambou noted that they never knew that the Interim Administrator has laudable plans in the pipeline to uplift their standard of living in the long term, noting that there is a communication gap between the PAP and the ex-agitators that needed to be bridged.
This, he noted, was largely responsible for their action, promising on behalf of the protesting ex-agitators to show more understanding and care in their actions going forward.
The Tide learnt that others who spoke also apologised to the Interim Administrator for their ineffectual act of indiscretion, declaring that they will pass on the good news to their followers and associates in the creeks.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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