The Federal Government says it couldn’t have done more to address the flood ravaging various states.By Talatu Usman
The Federal Government cannot do more than it is currently doing to ameliorate the sufferings of flood victims in various states of the federation, the Minister of Environment, Hadiza Mailafia has said.
Ms. Mailafia stated this on Wednesday at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, at the State House, Abuja. Though not on its agenda, the Council, Wednesday, discussed the flooding in various states of the country concluding that the Federal Government had done its best in the flood situations.
Ms. Mailafia said the blames on the government were unnecessary as floods were not peculiar to Nigeria.
“With the kind of technology put in place in the United State, they still had flooding there. In China and even our neighbour Niger, an arid land, they are experiencing flooding,” she said.
Despite the complaint by victims, rescue agencies, Red Cross officials, and civil society groups, that there was poor and insufficient assistance to flood victims in various states, Ms. Mailafia said the Government could not do better than it has done.
“For anyone to think that government has not done or there was something that we needed to do that we have not done, is a title bite awesome because there is a limit to which you can fight nature,” she said.
The Minister said that what the government had done in a “couple of months is consistently to educate people, calling the attention of government and individuals of the need to move away from flood plains.”
Other ministers also spoke on resolutions reached at the meeting, as it concerns their ministries.
FG to open by-pass on Abuja-Lokoja road
The Federal Government has also directed the opening of a bye-pass along the Lokoja-Abuja road, on Thursday. The bye-pass will enable movement along the road which has been shut to traffic since Sunday.
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolemenme, said this at the end of the FEC meeting which was presided over by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo.
Mr. Onolemenme said the bye-pass which has been created around the flooded area would be opened for motorists by Thursday.
He also said government has engaged construction giants in the country, to create the bye-pass as a temporary measure to ease the suffering of commuters on the road.
“What we have been doing since yesterday morning is that around the flooded area, we identified a bye-pass which we have created,” Mr. Onolemenme said adding that the road has reached 60 per cent completion.
“We have done a diversion at those drainages, and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened.
“For us, that was a national priority because we needed to open that particular transport corridor so that movement between the Southern States and the Northern States will not be impaired,” the minister added.
FEC approves N7b for 16m school textbooks
The Federal Executive Council also approved the purchase of 16 million textbooks and library resources materials for distribution to all public primary schools and Junior Secondary Schools across the country.
The Minister of State for Education, Ezenwo Wike, said the textbooks would be for core subjects in English Language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology, and Social Studies; for primaries three, four, five and six. He added that the library resources materials would be distributed to all Junior Secondary Schools across the country.
“Now, the total number of books Council approved for purchase through UBEC is 16 million copies of textbooks in Mathematics, English language, Basic Science and Technology, Social Studies, while 1,010,100 library resource materials (were) being approved for JSS.”
According to him, 5.7 million textbooks for English Language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology would be for primary four; 5.2 million for primary five; 2.6 million for primary six and 3.2 million social studies textbooks for primary three. All the primary school books will cost N17 billion.
The minister stated that the distribution of the textbooks would not be based on equality of states, but rather on pupils enrolled in schools in the states.
He, however, maintained that the 1.01 million library resources materials would be shared equally among the 36 states of the federation and the Abuja.
Also addressing the correspondents, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Council approved the execution of three infrastructure development projects in the Niger Delta region.
He stated that the projects included the construction of Kira- Dere –Mogho road in Gokona Local Government Area of Rivers and land reclamation/shore protection at Ogbeinana town in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta.
Mr. Maku expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to create the necessary atmosphere for sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.