Flooding: IMO GETS N400M LARGESSE

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Imo State government is to receive N400million from the federal government to cushion the hardship foisted on her citizens by flood.

President Goodluck Jonathan announced the largesse in a nationwide television and radio broadcast on Tuesday.

President Jonathan disclosed that government would donate a total of N17.6billion to the flooded states and some federal agencies charged with disaster management.

 

The states will receive a total of N13.3billion while the federal agencies will get N4.3billion, he stated.

Communities in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State were recently hit by flood.

States also affected by flood include Kogi, Oyo, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa, Anambra, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross River, Edo and Lagos.

The rest are Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Government categorized the states into four groups: A to D. The president said category A stats will receieve N500million each; Category B states, N400million each; Category C states, N300million each; and Category D states, N250million each. Category A states are: Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra while category B states are: Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross River, Edo, Lagos and Imo. Category C states are: Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers while D states comprise Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno and FCT. The president equally announced allocations to federal government agencies to enable them intensify their intervention activities. They are Ministry of Works (N2.6billion); National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) (N1.1billion); Ministry of Environment (N350million); National Commission for Refugees (N150million); Technical Committee on Floods Impact Assessment (N100million). He also disclosed of the setting up of a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to assist federal government in raising funds to mitigate the pains of flood on victims.

The committee, he said, is to be co-chaired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Olisa Agbakoba while Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr will serve as the chief funds mobilize. The president observed that government had through its relevant agencies intervened to providing relief to affected persons in collaboration with the state governments.

According to him, NEMA had so far spent N1.314billion on provision of relief materials; Ministry of Works (N556million) on repair of collapsed bridges and the construction of bye-passes; while the Ministry of Environment has spent N95million on sundry relief measures. He thanked state governments, members of the National Assembly, private individuals, agencies of government, private sector institutions, NGOs, faith-based organizations and philanthropic organizations who have risen in aid of persons and communities affected by the floods. Meanwhile, flood victims in Oguta local government area of Imo State are now sleeping on their roofs of their submerged houses. Nigeria Newspoint visited the scenes of the flooding last Saturday at Ndegwu village in the company of the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, chairman House Committee on Environment, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife with Hon. Jones Onyeriri who were led by the member representing Ohaji/Egbema Oguta/Oru West federal Constituency, Hon. Gerald Irona and saw women washing and bathing their children in the flood water victims were also seen cooking in their canoes while those who could not afford the canoes also cook on their rooftops while waiting to be evacuated by government agents.

As at the last count last Saturday, according to some villagers, the Country homes of maverick politician, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian local Content Development and Monitoring Board, Chief Ernest Nwapa and over 100 other householders in the area have been submerged by the flood as a result of the overflowing Oguta Blue Lake. So far, no relief camp has been opened by either the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) or the state government. Moved by the devastation caused by the flood, Chief Ihedioha and Chief Irona led some the House of Representatives members to assess the extent of devastation. Speaking to journalists during the visit, the deputy speaker expressed sadness at the level of devastation in the community. He said he and the members of the House of Representatives were in the community to have a first hand information about the devastation as that would stir them into action to address the challenges.

“This is quite devastating the first of its kind in Imo the circumstances are unusual and because they are unusual, it will demand on unusual response which is why we’ve come”, he said. Chief Ihedioha promised the people of the community that the House of Representatives would engage the executive arm of government this Thursday to find a lasting solution as well as to engage experts on environmental issues across the country to volunteer solution to the problems at hand. He expressed happiness that the disaster was coming at a time when the nation was preparing for 2013 budget, promising to factor it in the budget. Also speaking, the chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife condoled with the people of Oguta and Imo State saying from the assessment so far done, billions had been lost in the disaster she described as a national calamity.

She disclosed that so far 22 States of the federation had been affected by the flood disaster but assured the people of the area that the legislature was not relenting. On the need to attract international assistance, Mrs. Ekwunife said though seeking for relief materials, the country would have to look inwards first to see how to assist because “this has gone beyond NEMA and state governments. For Hon. Irona whose community was devastated by the flood “this is the real trying moment for my people. We shall welcome any assistance from any quarters”. He expressed gratitude to the House of Representatives led by Aminu Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha for commiserating with his people, saying the deputy speaker’s physical presence at Oguta showed someone with commitment. Earlier at the palace of Ajie Chinedu Nzeribe, traditional ruler of Oguta, the monarch thanked the House members for coming to commiserate with his community at the time of need and also commended Hon. Irona for his commitment in the National Assembly.

The monarch who spoke through one of the traditional council of Chiefs, Prof, Ike Azozu expressed worry that hunger would be looming in the state and its neighbours because Oguta had been the food basket of Imo State.

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