Uduaghan recruits Aki and Paw Paw to motivate flood victims

The Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on Monday explained the rationale behind inviting Nollywood actors, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, popularly known as Aki and Paw Paw, to visit flood victims in the state as motivational speakers.

Aki and Paw Paw were reportedly present during the inauguration of the 12-man committee on the management of Federal Government fund released to the state over the flood disaster and the Post-Flooding Rehabilitation of Victims, headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Francis Tabai, at Government House, Asaba, by Mr Uduaghan.

The governor said he invited the duo after he visited the Institute of Continuing Education, where some flood victims’ were camped on a certain day and discovered that the displaced person, who were watching a Nollywood movie, were so engrossed that they barely gave him attention when he walked in.

“As I walked in, half of the population were watching television; you know we provided a giant television for them,” he said.

“I tried to attract their attention. Some looked at me and greeted me, but they turned to continue watching the television. When I looked at the television, I saw it was Aki, Paw Paw and Ibu that they were watching.

“You see, because they were watching Aki, Paw Paw and Ibu, they forgot their pains. For them, these Nollywood actors were helping them to ease their pains. That was why I invited them to go to the different camps as motivational speakers because the victims require a lot of motivation, while they are preparing to go back home,” the governor added.

He said the victims needed psychological support, adding that he was optimistic that Aki and Paw Paw would provide it for them.

“That is why they are here as motivational speakers. I believe that the few minutes they will spend will ease the pains of our IDPs. Those who have ability to ease those in pains, please help, it is not about food alone for the victims – that will not ease their pains.”

Experts affirm that flood will not affect Nigeria’s food security

Just as the Minister of Agriculture recently dispelled fears over the possibility of food insecurity as a result of the flood disaster, experts in the agriculture sector have also affirmed that there is no reason to worry.

Speaking on our weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, the director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for West Africa, Dr Roberts Asiedu, stated that “with the quantity of food produced in the country, with proper planning and mobilization, we should not have a situation where we have a on long term impact of the flood.”

According to him, the flood will even improve the soil quality because the flood will deposit rich top soil on the flooded farm lands as the flood water is moving fine soil materials from other areas and it will deposit it on the flooded plains.

The agronomist also argued that a number of disease causing organisms that would have damaged crop plants that are surviving in the soil will also be suffocated and killed.

But he warned that their will some level of pressure after the flood as it recedes as farmers rush to late planting.

He enjoined both the government and private sector to ensure that food are transported across the country in the immediate aftermath of the flood disaster to avoid an expected rush.

“There is enough food production in the country and neighbouring country; all efforts must just be made to re-direct the exported farm produce for internal consumption at a good price for the farmers.”

According to the IITA expert, Nigeria produces 67 per cent of the yams produced in the world and the country is the largest producer of cassava in the world, so he emphasised that there is no need to worry.

On addressing the challenge of post-harvest losses, the country director of Harvest Africa, Mr Paul Ilona, also affirmed that the federal government purchases and store a great deal of grains produced across the country, but added that he is not able to confirm the condition in which they are stored.

According to Mr Ilona, the current flood disaster on rough estimate has affected just about 300,000 hectares of cultivated land while the nation’s cultivated land mass exceeds 40 million hectares, so the crop expert also agrees that with adequate planning, there will be no worries about food security after the flood.

Flood update: Environmentalist calls for post impact assessment

An Environmentalist, Idowu Salawu on Thursday said the states that received monies from the Federal Government to ameliorate their flooding problems should spend part of that fund in conducting post impact assessment studies.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Salawu cautioned the State governors that the monies should not be spent on frivolous jamborees but must be targeted at helping those displaced by the floods.

“The money is not for jamboree,” he said.

“If I am one of the lawmaker or policy maker saddled with the responsibility of managing this fund, I will take 10 percent of that money to carry out post impact assessment study of the flood impacted areas,” he added.

Delta state seek materials for victims of flood, not money

The Commissioner for Information, Delta State, has appealed to Nigerians, not to send money but materials to assist thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) that currently displaced by the ravaging flood in the oil-rich state.

The spokesman for the Delta state government, Barrister Chike Ogeah, on our breakfast show, Sunrise, stated that “Delta state does not need money but materials to keep the IDPs.”

“If there is money you want to give us, please convert into the needed materials and send it to us.”

The state government has opened centres in Lagos, Abuja and Warri where such donations can be collected.

Describing the precarious condition of the disaster, Barrister Ogeah stated that “three storey buildings are totally submerged in the flood waters.” “Farms, burial sites, sewages, and schools have all washed away, giving room for health concerns on the aftermath of the flood.”

“With the build-up of IDPs, I ask if we are at war because the sights are similar to the era of the Biafra war which seems to re-enacting itself, just that we are not hearing gunshots.” “It seems the state is at war with nature” the agitated official stated.

He further raised the alarm that as the flood has taken over homes, people now fish in their compound and children swim in the water thinking it is the river. “But this is dangerous because fishing in such water is harmful for human consumption because everything in that water is polluted” he warned.

“There are real prospects of an outbreak of disease among displaced residents who depend on the flood water as their only source of drinking water” he added.

According to the Director of Search and Rescue with the National Emergency Service, Mr Charles Otegbade, “what we expressing is the downward movement of the accumulated water from River Niger and River Benue to Delta state” as he spoke about the flood disaster that has also affected the Niger-Delta.

An environmental activist and official of Friends of the Earth, Mr Phillip Jakor, declared that all the communities affected by flood, should be declared Disaster Zones.

Jakor further notes that a pending outbreak of cholera after the flood is imminent just as snakes and scorpions and other dangerous animals now make their ways into people’s homes.

FLOOD: 680 people are displaced in Kwara as hectares of farmlands are eroded

The devastation caused by the over-flow of River Niger is spreading further across its banks as the resultant flood has displaced hundreds of families in Kwara, destroying hectares of farmland in its flow.

No fewer than 680 people have been displaced and rendered homeless in Patigi and Edu local government areas of Kwara state following heavy downpour in the last few days, coupled with the over-flow of River Niger at its tributary in Jebba, within the state.

The flood which affected 16 communities washed away nearly a million hectares of rice farmlands.

The state government has now called on the Federal Government to extend the dredging of River Niger to Jebba in Kwara state for permanent solution to perennial flooding in the area.

The Special Adviser to the state governor on emergency in company of the state Head of Service were shocked at the magnitude of the damage caused by the flood as they embarked on an inspection of the affected community.

The government officials had to resort to using a canoe to access the villages during their assessment tour.

Some of the villages visited in Edu and Patigi local government areas include Kpata, Mawogi, Abefu and Gbaradogi, where residential buildings and offices have been submerged by flood.

Nearly 70 houses were affected including the country home of the Commissioner for Industries and Solid Minerals who could not recall when such a magnitude of flood has ever occurred before.

Most of the displaced communities have been temporarily relocated though; they still remain at the mercy of the impending flood while the state and local governments are making all efforts to alleviate their suffering.

The government officials appealed to the flood victims to move away from the river bank.

Flood claims two more lives in Niger state

Two more people have been killed by flood in Lapia local government area of Niger state, making the total lives lost to the rampaging flood in the state to 49.

Speaking to Channels Television in Minna, the Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Mr Mohammed Shaba, explained that 17 years old Isa Mako and 11 years old, Safiya Nakoje of Egba village were returning from their daily farm work when the flood which had ravage the whole community carried them away.

Their corpses were later discovered outside the village square, 24 hours later by a search and rescue team of the local government council.

Mr Shaba further stated that over 6000 persons had been rendered homeless in 37 communities across the state by the flood which he claimed has overwhelmed both the local and the state government.

Flood: Oshiomhole demands expedient use of Ecological Fund

The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Federal Government to act fast and make judicious use of the National Ecological Fund in the management of raging flood disasters in the country.

The governor who made the call when the Director General; National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Sani Sidi visited Edo State to assess the devastation caused by the flood disaster across the state.

Some of the local government affected by the flood in the state include, Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan South East. The emergency boss noted that the state government will collaborate with state government to provide a solution.

Governor Oshiomhole noted that the situation in the flooded communities caused by the overflow of the River Niger is getting worse because more communities are being affected and the water level is still rising.

He also stated that there are long term implications as farmlands have been destroyed, domestic animals have been killed and he affirmed that the Federal Government ought to do more than it has done.

The NEMA DG commiserated with the government and people of the state on the losses, both in human and material resources, adding that the flood which has occurred in 23 states of the federation are a pointer to the growing intensity of climate related disasters.

Saraki visits flood ravaged-Kogi state

The Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology have expressed shock over the level of devastation of riverine communities in Kogi state by the flood.

The Chairman of the Committee, Bukola Saraki disclosed this in Kogi State Government House, Lokoja when he led Senators to commiserate with the state governor, Idris Wada over the flood which devasted parts of the state.

Mr Saraki said the committee was in Kogi state to assess the level of devastation and to sympathise with the victims who were affected by the flood.

He promised the governor that his committee would submit a comprehensive report on the floods. He believed that the report will bring about the needed assistance to the residents of the state.

He also promised the governor that the committee will intensify the release of ecology fund to the state to cushion the effect of the devastation.

Mr Wada, while thanking the committee members for the visit, described the incident as a great calamity to the state and a loss for most residents of the state.

The senate committee went for an on the spot assessment of the Ganaja Village where the floods have taken over the road and has made it impassable for commuters.

Mr Saraki assured the people taking refuge at the relief camp that the federal and state governments will intervene to take them out of their present state.




Floods kill eight; displace over 1 million in Kogi

Eight persons have been killed and about one million displaced from their home in Kogi State by the recent flooding that have ravage the state due to the release of Kainji and Shiroro dams of the River Niger, an official said on Monday.

The Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) operations in Abuja, Ishaya Isah, who in company of some members of the National Assembly from Kogi West visited one of the relieve camp in Lokoja, confirmed that about eight persons have lost their lives as a result of the flood while over 332 communities were washed away by the flood.

“About nine local governments were affected by the waters and over 332 communities have suffered this devastation of the flood. People lost their household utensils, their houses and over 70 percent of them lost all their farm products,” he said.

Mr Isah said that the eight persons that died were killed when a boat cap sided in Banda, a community which is about ten minutes’ drive away from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

Abuja road blocked

The Lokoja-Abuja road wish have a free flow of traffic for quite sometimes now have been put on hold as a result of the flood, water from river Niger has over flown and move across the road in Banda village making it difficult for vehicles heading to Abuja or returning from the FCT to the eastern part of the states to move.

Some commuters trapped on either side of the road told Channels Television’s reporter that they have been there in the last two days without head ways. Getting out of Banda some commuters use canoes to get to the other side of the river while others ride on commercial motorcycle to get to Banda.

Some travellers said the state government should take a proactive step in putting a temporary solution to the situation by inviting an engineer to drain out the water.

Alternative routes
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said it has worked out alternative routes to and from Abuja to lessen the agony of motorists, following the temporary closure of the flooded Lokoja-Abuja Road.
In a statement on Monday, the Deputy Corps Public Education Officer of the commission, Bisi Kazeem urged motorists driving from Lagos and wishing to use Okene-Lokoja-Abuja route, to divert to Okene-Ajaokuta-Ayangba-Ankpa-Makurdi Lafia-Akwanga-Abuja route.
Those coming from the South East should use Otukpa-Makurdi route, and those driving from Abuja to Lokoja should use Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi-Ankpa-Okene route.
He said the commission had also deployed more personnel in those routes to forestall traffic gridlock.

Jonathan sets up committee on floods

President Goodluck Jonathan has constituted a technical committee to assess and determine the extent of damage caused by recent floods in some states, a statement said in Abuja on Saturday.

The statement, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim said states such as Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa, Benue and Kogi were most affected by the floods.

The statement said the committee had the minister of Environment as chairman, minister of Water Resources and minister of Works as members.

The permanent secretary, Ecological Fund Office, and the director-general, National Emergency Management Agency, would provide the secretariat of the committee.

The statement said the committee, which had already started working, has four days to submit an interim report to the president.

Flood sacks 14 communities; displaces 25, 000 persons in Benue

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday said over 25, 000 persons have been displaced by flood in 14 communities in Benue State following the overflow of river Benue.

Yushau Shuaib, NEMA’s Head Public Relations, in a press statement sent to Channels Television, said the agency had reached out to areas that are threatened by flood yet “some of the communities at risk have remained adamant even as over 25, 000 persons in 14 communities were displaced in Benue State following the overflow of river Benue.

“Also, thousands of residents in Kaduna metropolis have been displaced by flood from Kaduna River and some communities in Kano State submerged after the collapse of Warawa dam.

“Similarly, more areas along the plains of River Benue and River Niger have remained under the threat of flood from the unprecedented rise of water in the upstream dams,” the statement said.

The NEMA spokesman said the agency is working with the Benue State government and others in the establishment of three camps for the displaced persons while officials have mobilized to the other areas that are also affected by the disaster including Bauchi State.

Mr Shuaib said “the agency has contacted the relevant States Governors and stakeholders as well as launched a series of awareness campaigns and advocacy to sensitize the vulnerable communities on measures to be taken. However, some of the communities have remained adamant not to move to any place of safety and resigned their fate to the act of God.

Meanwhile, authorities at the Jebba hydroelectric dam has began discrete release of the excess water from the dam to safeguard the facility.

The Chief executive officer of the hydroelectric power plant, Lamu Audu attributed the high water level to excessive rainfall this year.

An assessment team comprising officers of NEMA and the stakeholders including the line ministries visited the dam and some of the threatened communities in Kwara and Niger States.

NEMA’s Director of Planning Research and Forecasting, Charles Agbo who led the team expressed satisfaction with the manner which the excess water is being managed.

During the visit to Jebba and Old Jebba which are the two immediate communities located at the downstream of the dam, Mr Agbo advised the residents in the communities to relocate to the higher grounds for safety.

Flood Alert: NEMA orders immediate evacuation of communities along River Niger

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Monday ordered an immediate evacuation of citizens living along the River Niger plains.

In a press statement issued by the agency’s Head of Relations, Yushau Shuaib, NEMA said the order “comes because the dams have attained their highest water levels in 29 years which is unprecedented in the history of Jebba and Kainji hydroelectric power dams.”

Mr Shuaib said the threat has created a high risk of imminent flooding in the downstream of the river.

NEMA asked the residents of the communities along the river plain to move to higher grounds for safety.

The states at risk of the flood are Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Anambra and Delta.

The statement reads: “Already the agency has notified the affected states to take the necessary precautionary measures by relocating people from the flood prone areas and activated the National Contingency Plan as well as alerted all stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates.

“The states are to ensure compliance with the threat in order to avert imminent loss of lives and properties that would certainly arise in the event of flooding.

“Furthermore, information available indicates that the gauge for monitoring the flow of water in the river has already exceeded the maximum height by over one meter.

“A rapid assessment team comprising officers of NEMA and the stakeholders has left for Jebba and Kainji to further inspect the situation.”