12 Edo Communities Submerged by Flood

*Obaseki: Edo reforming power sector to boost production

*Stakeholders brainstorm on implementation of MSMEs policy in state

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

No fewer than 12 communities mostly in Etsako Central local government area of Edo State have been submerged by flood as a result of torrential rain in the last few days that has resulted in the River Niger overflowing its banks.

 Many of the residents had to flee because the water level in most of the communities have gone above the window level of their houses while those who managed to move around go in canoes as residents say this was the worst flood they have had since 2012.
Churches, mosques, markets, schools have all been taken over by flood water. Some of the communities mostly hit are Udaba-Ekphei, Anegbette, Ukpeko Orle, Ofukpo, Agbabu, Osomegbe, Udochi, Yelwa, Ake Island and Ifeku Islay.

Agricultural produce like rice, cassava, vegetables, potatoes, ground nuts and others have been completely submerged by the devastating floods, prompting the people are calling on all governments at all levels to come to their aid before they start losing their lives due to the devastating effects of the flood.
 An indigene of the Udaba, Mr. Isaac Omoaka said “My village is completely submerged. Since I was born, I have never seen such a thing. This year’s flood is ten times that of 2012.

 “We have a prominent son who built schools, a hospital complete with a mortuary, laboratory, x-ray and several amenities all of them now are under the water.”
When contacted, Edo State Commissioner for Special Duties, Osasere Evboumwan said: “We were in Etsako Central last Friday; myself, NEMA, SEMA, the Head of Local Government Administration, representatives of World Health Organisation (WHO) and others.

“We are sending our report now to see how we can provide relief for them. Farms have been taken away by water, every year this flood comes and NEMA said the only solution to this is to dredge River Niger otherwise it will continue to occur. For the immediate solution, we are going to be supplying food for them, the IDP centre in Ogomeri is dry and there are facilities there but the people are reluctant to come there.”
Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the government was paying critical attention to the power sector, encouraging investment in the sector to support production and grow the state’s economy.

Obaseki, was quoted in a statement to have said this in Benin City, as part of the government’s efforts to reform the sector, the Edo State Assembly passed a law setting up the Edo State Electricity Commission to establish an independent electricity market in the state.
According to him, “In order to grow the economy of our state and encourage manufacturers and producers to locate their industries and businesses in Edo State, we are encouraging investments in the electricity sector.

“Apart from our investment in the Azura 450MW and support for the 95MW Ossiomo Power projects, we have now passed a law setting up the Edo State Electricity Commission. The purpose of this law is to establish an independent Electricity market in Edo State. It is expected that this will attract investors to generate and distribute electricity within Edo State particularly to underserved communities.”

“With a revamped public service, we intend to deliver more efficient services to Edo people. Civil and public servants are now receiving intensive training at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy to prepare them to deliver on their responsibilities,” the governor added.
In a related development, stakeholders in the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sub sector at the weekend met to chart a path for implementation of the national MSMEs policy in Edo.

The event was organised by SMEDAN in collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Business, Trade and Cooperatives and the Edo State Skills Development Agency and supported by SEDIN, a programme under the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The one-day event which held in Benin City, was tagged: “Stakeholders Dialogue on MSMEs Development and the Implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs in Edo.”

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Director Policy, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Onesi Lawani, said the meeting was to create awareness and ownership of the national MSME policy in Edo.
Lawani said the implementation of the national policy was to facilitate as well as sustain a vibrant MSMEs sub sector that would be the major driver of the nation’s economic growth.

Also speaking, Head of Programme, Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (SEDIN), Markus Wauschkuhn, said addressing issues facing MSMEs in Nigeria was the surest way to bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
Wauschkuhn said the essence of the dialogue was, therefore, to strengthen coordination of activities done by the federal and states MDAs as well as donor organisations, geared toward the development of MSMEs in the country.

Represented by Akinropo Omoware, Head of Policy, SEDIN, Wauschkuhn said, “we believe that the forum will provide opportunity for stakeholders in the MSMEs eco-system in the state to interact on the key challenges, foster common understanding and proffer some solutions.”
In his goodwill message, Obaseki said one could not underscore the fact that MSMEs were the engine of any economy, as they remained the largest employers of labour.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Business, Trade and Cooperative, Afishetu Braimoh, Obaseki said: “We have struck strategic collaboration with local amd international partners to ensure the promotion of the private sector in the state.”

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