Segun Jame and Shola Oyeyipo
Following the havoc floods have wreaked in many parts of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday promised that the Federal Government would rehabilitate the victims
The President also promised to build some dams in the upper River Niger and River Benue to stem a possible re-occurrence in future.
Jonathan disclosed this in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, after taking an aerial survey of affected area of the state, adding that investigations has revealed that the River Benue rather than the Niger was responsible for what he considered as the worse flooding in the country since 1969.
“With the 1969 flooding experience at the back of my mind, I noticed that the outlet of the water resulting into flood was from River Niger but with the construction of Shiroro and Kainji Dams then, the outflow of water drastically reduced.
“Also, during my visit to flood victims in Kogi State, the governor told me that the bulk of water came in from River Benue and as a way of reducing the flooding, what Government is planning to build more dams in Benue section.
“Presently, the Federal Government is building Kashambila Dam and it will be completed in 2014. My commitment is to fast track it and by the time government builds two or three dams in the Benue section; it will reduce the level of water because dams have the primary responsibility of holding water.”
The President said that the flooding is global phenomenon, but regretted that the nation was worst hit.He said that from all indications, farmers were the worse hit and that after flying some states, he discovered that most farm lands are under water and fish ponds have been washed away while property worth millions of naira have been destroyed.
Earlier in his address, the host governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, commended the efforts of the President and various government agencies at bringing succour to the people of the state, describing the effects of the flooding as devastating.
In another development, persons rendered homeless by the devastating flood in Kogi State are now to be relocated to the Federal Government Housing estates in Ajaokuta Steel Company, Ajaokuta and Lokoja as the state says it has obtained relevant approvals.
Making this known at the weekend, the Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, while receiving the executive members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who visited to commiserate with government, also added that the state government has been acquiring accommodation for special people who are unable to use the facilities at the 87 relief camps.
According to him, in the bid to avoid the closure of schools currently being used as relief camps: “Alternative camps are to be provided in Idah to vacate schools presently occupied by displaced persons while schools are to be established in camps where Ibaji displaced persons will be relocated.”
While expressing disgust that some persons are disguising under the pretext of being flood victims to sabotage the efforts of government through media blackmail, he appealed to people not affected by the flood who are pretending to be victims, in order to receive relief materials “to have the fear of God and not hamper the good intentions of government”, stressing that “so much is been done by the state, FG and spirited Nigerians, to mitigate the sufferings of those affected”.
He urged the camp operators, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials, to carry out their support programmes with the fear of God by ensuring that every materials received is rightly channelled to those it is intended.
Awoniyi hinted that the state government will soon begin the repair of roads affected by the flood to address the damages caused to vehicular movement in the state.