President Goodluck Jonathan
By Muhammad Bello
In its efforts to cushion the devastating effects of the flooding experienced in parts of the country, the federal government has earmarked the sum of about N22 billion as financial assistance to all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and as allocations to ministries and parastatals.
This is as President Goodluck Jonathan, who made a nationwide broadcast Tuesday, announced the establishment of a 34-man Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to be co-chaired by billionaire Aliko Dangote and renowned activist Olisa Agbakoba.
A breakdown of the funds by the president indicate that the 36 states and the FCT will get N13.3 billion while federal government agencies will get N4.3 billion.
The remaining allocations were made to the Ministry of Works, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), ministry of environment, National Commission and the technical committee on flood's impact assessment; which will receive N2.6 billion, N1.1 billion, N350 million, N150 million and N100 million respectively.
So far, since the disaster began a couple of months ago NEMA in conjunction with state governments has spent N1.314 billion to provide mediate relief material to victims just as the Ministry of Works expended N556 million on “the repair of collapsed bridges and the construction of by-passes while the Minster of Environment has spent N95 million on sundry relief measures.”
According to the president the provision of the national flood relief fund to the states and the FCT is in four categories.
Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra are Category A states.
Category B include: Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross River, Edo, Lagos and Imo States.
In Category C are: Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers; while Category D states include, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno and Federal Capital Territory.
The president explained that “all category A states will receive N500 million each, category B states, N400 million each, category C states N300 million each and category D states each, N250 million each.”
Expressing dismay over the “unprecedented flood” that wrecked havoc in many parts of the country, the president commiserated with all the victims reassuring that “the federal government is prepared to do everything possible to mitigate the impact of this natural disaster.”
Stating that the apex government is ready to unfold a medium and long term plan to mitigate such problem in the future once the technical committee he set up completes its assignment, President Jonathan announced the establishment of another committee on flood relief and rehabilitation “to assist the federal government to raise funds to mitigate the pains and ensure the effective post impact of rehabilitation of victims,” within one year.
Members of the committee are: Alhaji Karami Isiaku Rabiu, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Ngo Hannatu Cholum, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Mr. Tony Elumelu and Secretary-General Nigerian Red Cross .
Others are: the representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.), the National Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (N.S.C.I.A.), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the European Union, the Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The permanent secretaries of the federal Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Works, Agriculture, Health, Finance, National Planning and Ecological Funds Office are also on the committee.
Other members include: the Director-General of NEMA, acting Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties and Chairman, House Committee on Environment.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) will have representatives in the committee along with Mr. Tunde Lemo, who will represent the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ms. Fatima Wali, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr. and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa are also in the committee, which secretariat will be provided by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“The Committee,” according to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in a statement: “has been given the mandate to raise funds to complement government’s resources for the provision of relief to flood victims across the country and the post-impact rehabilitation of affected persons and communities.”
“The Committee which is also expected to advise government on the judicious utilization of funds raised, has been authorized by President Jonathan to co-opt any other persons or organizations that it may find useful in carrying out its assignment.”
President Jonathan concluded his broadcast by expressing gratitude to “governments, members of the National Assembly, private individuals, agencies of government, private sector institutions, NGOs, faith based organizations, and philanthropic groups who individually and collectively have risen to the aid of persons communities affected by the floods.”
He said: the “humanitarian and compassionate spirit that has been on display in the past few weeks, reassures us that at critical moments, Nigerians are able to come together in pursuit of a common purpose,” emphasizing that his “administration remains fully committed to the welfare and well being of all Nigerians at all times. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria."