Ministry of Aviation, Stella Odua
By Christopher Isiguzo, Adibe Emenyonu and Hammed Shittu
Without a respect or deference to ecclesiastical order or personages, the nationwide ravaging flood, Thursday sacked the Bishop of Western Izon Diocese (Anglican Communion) in Delta State, Most Rev. Emmanuel Edafe Emamezi. As at last night, the bishop was flustered by the confusion the flood had caused his family, ministry and other parishioners. The flood has seized over 30 communities within the diocese, the bishop said.
The diocese, which covers three local government areas apiece in Bayelsa and Delta States, has been severely hit by the flood.
Delta State, just like Kogi, Anambra, and many other states in the country, has come under severe flooding in recent times, even as more floods are feared in the days ahead.
The flood in Patani should have been predicted given that it is a coastal border town, by the bank of a tributary of River Niger. Surrounding communities and towns in Bayelsa State have suffered a similar fate.
Thursday, Bishop Emamezi lamented the devastating effect of the flood that has almost shut down the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew, the seat of the diocese.
He narrated that the vicarage has been overwhelmed by the flood, while the church has been submerged by the flood, which has been advancing threateningly.
He lamented that the flood has caused so much losses to his people.
He said: “We suddenly saw that we were cut off by the flood. We ran out. My driver was hardly able to remove the cars from the compound. The disaster is huge.”
“Our church at Ojobo has been swept away now, just as the diocesan treasurer battled the flood by swimming to safety. He has fled to Yenagoa now.”
The bishop is being relocated to either Warri or Oleh for safety, pending when the flood subsides.
But hope was raised Thursday when the Federal Government mulled the idea of providing grant for states that have suffered severe flooding.
However, ahead of the grant, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Thursday donated relief materials worth millions of naira to flood victims in Anambra State.
The Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the ruling party in the state, also donated relief materials to the victims.
The beneficiaries are victims in the six council areas of Anambra East and West, Ogbaru, Ayamelum, Onitsha South, and Awka North where over 26 communities, property and farmlands worth millions of naira had been submerged by flood.
Speaking while making the donation in Awka, a representative of the Ministry of Aviation, Dr. Jerry Ugokwe, said the Minister, Stella Odua, had held consultation with the NEMA management on the need for a quick response to the plight of the victims.
Items donated Thursday included 876 bags of rice, 300 bags of garri, 100 kegs of palm oil, 100 kegs of groundnut oil, 100 bags of salt, 100 wax print wrappers and 1,500 plastic plates to help the victims cushion the pains of the flood.
Ugokwe, a former member of the House of Representatives during which he was the committee chairman on NEMA, said that he came personally to monitor the distribution of the relief materials to ensure they got to the target audience.
Similarly, the chairman of APGA in Anambra State, Chief Mike Kwentoh, led members of the state executive of the party to NEMA office in Awka to donate materials he said cost the chapter N2.5 million.
The relief materials included bags of rice, cartons of vegetable oil, cartons of disinfectants, clothing materials, cartons of toilet soaps and blankets.
The member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Victor Ogene, who said members of the National Assembly from the state had been going round the affected areas with relief materials at personal level, added that he came in collaboration with NEMA to find ways of helping out.
The Federal Government team on flood was also in Edo State yesterday assuring the people that it would provide short and long-term solutions to the national calamity.
Minister of Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafiya, who led the team to visit the Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, at the Government House, Benin City, said government was aware of the disaster that has affected some states in the country.
She expressed the Federal Government’s commitment and determination to provide lasting solution to the worrisome situation.
“On the erosion in parts of the state, we are just waiting for the presidential approval; I am aware of all the erosion sites that you have named and I am sure something will be done, particularly, the one in Auchi, although what we initially suggested may not be able to capture the quantum of work.
So we are trying a good review of it.
“With the flooding now, a lot of the areas that were eroded would have degenerated further but I assure you that we will do something to find a lasting solution to the problem,” she said.
But believing that the flood victims in Kwara State are in a bad shape, NEMA has called for their relocation.
The Assistant Zonal Operations Officer of NEMA, Mr. Slaku Lugard Bijimi, made the call during an assessment visit to the affected communities in Patigi, Patigi Local Government Area.
According to him, "This relocation has become imperative in order to return lives back to the victims in the state."
He said relocation also remained the only permanent solution to the ecological disasters in the area, which he noted has become an annual occurrence.
Bijimi appealed to the Federal Government to find a permanent solution to the perennial flooding of the area by extending the dredging of River Niger to Jebba in order to save the area.
He appealed to people residing along riverbanks across the state to relocate, saying that the flood might persist until November in accordance with the earlier prediction by meteorologists.