Okon Bassey in Uyo, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs yesterday flagged off the distribution of relief materials to flood victims in some local government areas of Akwa Ibom and Edo States.
In Akwa Ibom, the relief materials distributed included: mattresses, pillows, blankets, cooking pots, cartons of noodles, bags of rice, bags of beans, a grinding machine
Others were sewing machines, hair clippers, cement, roofing sheets, ceiling boards and bags of nails, among others.
Handing over the materials to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for distribution in Uyo, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umanah Okon Umanah, said the items were meant to provide succor to the victims.
The Minister represented by the State NDDC Commissioner, Mr. Emem Wills, thanked President Mohammadu Buhari for approving the distribution of the relief materials to mitigate the sufferings of Niger Delta flood victims.
Umanah, noted that the relief materials would be distributed to all the LGAs in the Niger Delta affected by the flood last year.
He regretted that the region remains the worse hit by flood in the country due to its topography and location.
“Even though the flood was however predicted by relevant federal and state agencies, the density of the flood was however beyond our imagination.
“It was the worst flood by its destructive effect on the livelihood of the people and entire ecosystem of the Niger Delta.
“Homes, farmlands, and businesses were lost to the flood. Regrettably, Niger Delta is always worse hit by floods in the country because of its topography and location.
“We are aware that no amount of relief provided by the government can replace the losses as a result of the flood. However, it is our candid belief that the relief items will help alleviate the burden currently faced by our people.”
He added: “Government officers and security personnel have been assigned to monitor the distribution exercise to ensure that these items get to those for whom they are meant.”
Responding, the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed assured that the relief materials woulf be distributed to the right victims of the flood.
Ahmed, who was represented by his subordinate in the agency, Mr. Demain Egwu, commended the federal government for its intervention.
On his part, the State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Niger Delta and the federal government for remembering the flood victims of last year in the state.
Ekpo, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nkopuduk Ekaiko, also emphasised that the state government would collaborate with NEMA to ensure that the items get to the right victims.
“We will ensure that these items received get to the right victims. We have their list and with this, nobody will be left out of the distribution. We will do it religiously and judiciously,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Edo, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in collaboration with NEMA distributed relief materials to 2022 flood victims in Edo state.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the items to NEMA for onward distribution to the beneficiaries in Benin yesterday, Umana also said the relief items by the federal government were designed to cushion the effect of the flood on the beneficiaries.
“The flood destroyed the livelihood of the people and entire ecosystem of the Niger Delta. Homes, farmlands and businesses were lost to the flood. Niger Delta is always worse hit by flood in the country because of its topography and location,” he added.
Represented by a director in the Ministry, Mr. Mathew Pukuma, the minister said though no amount of relief provided by government could replace the loses as a result of the flood, the relief items would help alleviate the burden currently faced by the people.
Also speaking, NEMA Head of Operations in Edo, Dahiru Yusuf, said seven local government areas in the state were to benefit in the first phase of the distribution of relief items to victims of flood in the state.
He listed the benefiting local government in the first phase of relief distribution to include, Ikpoba-Okha, Oredo, Ovia North East, Esan North East, Esan South East Etsako West and Etsako East.
In his remarks, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Idehen Dorcas, commended the federal government, MNDA and NEMA for identifying with the flood victims in the state.
Speaking at the flag-off and handing over of the palliatives to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA), for distribution to the victims, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Olufunso Adebiyi, said the palliatives was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, in his concern and love for the people of the Niger Delta to alleviate the challenges that came with the devastating flood.
According to Adebiyi, the relief materials approved for distribution include social relief care packs, which included mattresses, pillows, blankets, cooking pots etc, nutritional packs, which included cartons of noodles, bags of rice, garri and beans.
Others included livelihood items such as grinding machines, sewing machines, hair clippers and building materials, like cement, roofing sheets, and ceiling boards.
He said that communities in the local government area’s highly impacted by the effect of the flood were identified by NEMA through the needs assessment conducted after the flood, adding that it is these identified communities and local government areas that have been earmarked to be given these relief items in order to rehabilitate the people.
The permanent secretary, who was represented by the Director of Economic Empowerment, MNDA, Mr. Philip Ndiomu, said that the distribution exercise is the first phase, noting that the implementation of the second phase would also commence very soon, once this phase is concluded.
Ndiomu said: “Even though the flood was predicted by relevant federal and state agencies, the density of the flood was however beyond our imagination, it was the worst flood by its destructive effect on the livelihood of the people and entire ecosystem of the Niger Delta. Homes, farmlands and businesses were lost to the flood. Regrettably, it is worthy of note that Niger Delta is always worse hit by flood in the country because of its topography and location.
“We are aware that no amount of relief provided by government can replace the losses as a result of the flood. However, it is our candid believe that the relief items will help alleviate the burden currently faced by our people. Let me also state that this gesture is not just a physical distribution of materials rather, it represents the compassion and empathy of the government towards the people.
“The palliative items will be handed over to NEMA for onward distribution to the beneficiaries as identified in the affected communities/LGAs. In addition, government officers and security personnel have been assigned to monitor the distribution exercise to ensure that these items get to those for whom they are meant.
“These materials will be meticulously distributed in all the identified local government areas of the Niger
In his remark, the Assistant Chief Search and Rescue Officer, NEMA, Mr. Anyanwu Fortunatus, said that the agency would ensure that the items are well distributed to the victims accordingly.
The Chairman of Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) Mr. Walaman Igrubia, in his remark, commended the MNDA for donating the palliatives to cushion the effects of the 2022, and call on other government agencies and ministries to also follow suit.
He said: “Although, this will be not be enough for everybody that is affected by the flood but it will go a long way in alleviating suffering that was gotten from the flood. We understand that the government is winding down but such gesture should be a continuous thing.”