Flood Victims: Kogi Denies Giving N3,000 for Aid
The Kogi State Flood Relief Management Committee has denied a media report that the State Government shared the sum of N4000 and N3000 to victims of last year’s flood disaster in the State.
The Flood Management Committee, under the supervision of the State Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, noted that the N500million donation received from the Federal Government, was aimed at providing succor to internally displaced victims while they were in camps and to assist in the repair of damaged infrastructures.
In a statement in Lokoja, the committee noted that since the State Government also received material items such as food stuff from public spirited organizations and individuals, rather than using the donation to buy food stuff , food items received were used to cater for the victims while in camp, thus the donation received were majorly channeled into rebuilding damaged infrastructures.
The flood management committee also frowned at the misrepresentation of facts by the Newspaper that over N1 billion was received as donation by the Kogi State Government, said for the purpose of the uninformed writer, N753,192,704.10 was the cash donation that the State received. The monies came in as N500 million and N253,192,704.10 from Federal Government, private individuals and organizations respectively.
While it is important to state that it is not the function of the State Government to rebuild damaged houses for victims of the flood disaster as alleged in the report, most of the affected houses, the flood committee disclosed were illegally built on flood prone areas without government building plan approval.
The building of the flood housing estate in Lokoja by the Captain Idris Wada’s administration which would be replicated in other flood council areas, is a responsible government gesture to assist those living in flood prone areas.
It is important to also state that none of the victims affected by the flood most of whom built illegally in the said flood prone areas were assured by Government of helping them to rebuild their houses while leaving their camps as claimed by the publication. for record purposes,the on-going housing estate nearing completion is costing the state government N504 million.
Similarly the sum of N139,555m was given as assistance to the nine flood affected Local Government Areas with the affected councils charged to decide on the modalities for the use of the money allocated to them in rebuilding damaged infrastructures most especially.
The amount being brandished as money given or was shared to the victims of the flood disaster was assistance given by stakeholders of the affected Local Government Areas and not the Kogi State Government as was alleged by the Newspaper report and also in some quarters.
The flood management committee described as laughable the allegation that the funds received by the State Government were not put into purposes intended. For sake of emphasis, the rehabilitation of schools affected by the flood gulped the sum of N81,376,646.55 Rehabilitation of flood affected roads N423 million; Agricultural recovery programme along the river plain in the flood affected Local Government Areas was carried out at the cost of N200 million. This are some of the interventions of Government among many others too numerous to mention.
As to the measures being put in place by the State Government towards this year’s predicted flood, the State government has set up 15 camps, to be equipped with infrastructures and will be better managed this year. Furthermore, the State Government has procured boats, medicines and other perishable relief materials in readiness for the predicted flood this year. The officials of SEMA and other stakeholders in the State have also been trained on better method of managing disasters and rescue operation. Similarly, there has been an increased level of sensitization campaign to encourage people leaving in flood prone areas to move up land. One therefore wonders why, the writer feels nothing is been done in the State ahead the predicted flood.
While the State government is working in consonant with the united Nation, NEMA and other agencies to ensure that people of the State do not suffer hardship as a result of the flood this year, the flood management committee appeals to journalists to always cross-check and verify their facts before going to the press.