Rivers accuses NEMA of insensitivity, unfairness over flood victims

UMON COMMUNITY IN CROSS RIVER FLOODED

The Rivers State Government, Wednesday, criticised the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, over the latter’s management of the flood victims in the state.

The State Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru, who spoke at a news conference in Port Harcourt, said despite all the money the Federal Government has voted to the Emergency Agency, it is yet to utilise an adequate fraction of it in Rivers.

“NEMA, as a Federal Government agency responsible for emergency situation, has only donated 500 mattresses and 200 bags of assorted food items since the flood started in the state,”

“We feel that what they (NEMA) has given to us so far as a state is grossly inadequate and we expected them to have done more.

Mr. Ikuru said the state was making public its statement because it is “aware that the Federal Government voted huge sum of money to NEMA and the world should know this so that the figures do not change later.”

He said the state is not aware of any camp that NEMA has set up in the state, because all the existing camps are the ones set up by the state government.  He said the agency has only delivered relief materials worth N17.9 million to about 83,000 displaced persons in the state.

The deputy governor, however, said that Rivers Government had spent more than N300 million to mitigate the disaster, and that 183 communities and property worth billions of Naira were destroyed by flood in the state.

He said the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, had set up an 11-member flood relief committee to work with other agencies toward reducing the sufferings of displaced persons in the state, and 26 camps were set up in Abua/Odual, Ahoada East, Ahoada West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas, mostly affected by the flood disaster.

The deputy governor said that relief materials provided by the state government included mattresses, mosquito nets and food items. Others were fire woods, treated water, pillows, blankets and electricity supply to the resettlement camps.

On alleged mismanagement of relief materials, he said it was criminal for village chiefs and community leaders to engage in favouritism and diversion of relief materials meant for flood victims.  According to him, such act of criminality will not be condoned and defaulters will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Mr. Ikuru urged displaced persons to cooperate with relevant agencies, adding that more relief materials were being distributed to address the increasing number of persons affected by the flood.

He also called on the public and philanthropic organisations to complement government’s efforts by sending relief materials and donations through the state committee tasked with the responsibility.

NEMA won’t release facts

The emergency agency, which is at the centre of the allegations by Rivers State, has said it would not join issues with the state government over its activities in Rivers.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Umesi Emenike, said the agency “sends relief materials to various states when the need arises.”

“If the relief materials sent to Rivers State is not adequate, we feel it is not on the pages of newspapers that we’ll address the inadequacy,” Mr. Emenike said.

The NEMA boss who declined to give, by email, official details of the agency’s intervention in Rivers said the deputy governor’s statements show “how the state perceives what we have done so far.”

“We have intervened and will continue to intervene in Rivers State as the need arises,” he said.The Rivers State Government, Wednesday, criticised the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, over the latter’s management of the flood victims in the state.

The State Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru, who spoke at a news conference in Port Harcourt, said despite all the money the Federal Government has voted to the Emergency Agency, it is yet to utilise an adequate fraction of it in Rivers.

“NEMA, as a Federal Government agency responsible for emergency situation, has only donated 500 mattresses and 200 bags of assorted food items since the flood started in the state,”

“We feel that what they (NEMA) has given to us so far as a state is grossly inadequate and we expected them to have done more.

Mr. Ikuru said the state was making public its statement because it is “aware that the Federal Government voted huge sum of money to NEMA and the world should know this so that the figures do not change later.”

He said the state is not aware of any camp that NEMA has set up in the state, because all the existing camps are the ones set up by the state government.  He said the agency has only delivered relief materials worth N17.9 million to about 83,000 displaced persons in the state.

The deputy governor, however, said that Rivers Government had spent more than N300 million to mitigate the disaster, and that 183 communities and property worth billions of Naira were destroyed by flood in the state.

He said the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, had set up an 11-member flood relief committee to work with other agencies toward reducing the sufferings of displaced persons in the state, and 26 camps were set up in Abua/Odual, Ahoada East, Ahoada West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas, mostly affected by the flood disaster.

The deputy governor said that relief materials provided by the state government included mattresses, mosquito nets and food items. Others were fire woods, treated water, pillows, blankets and electricity supply to the resettlement camps.

On alleged mismanagement of relief materials, he said it was criminal for village chiefs and community leaders to engage in favouritism and diversion of relief materials meant for flood victims.  According to him, such act of criminality will not be condoned and defaulters will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Mr. Ikuru urged displaced persons to cooperate with relevant agencies, adding that more relief materials were being distributed to address the increasing number of persons affected by the flood.

He also called on the public and philanthropic organisations to complement government’s efforts by sending relief materials and donations through the state committee tasked with the responsibility.

NEMA won’t release facts

The Emergency Agency, which is at the centre of the allegations by Rivers State, has said it would not join issues with the state government over its activities in Rivers.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Umesi Emenike, said the agency “sends relief materials to various states when the need arises.”

“If the relief materials sent to Rivers State is not adequate, we feel it is not on the pages of newspapers that we’ll address the inadequacy,” Mr. Emenike said.

The NEMA boss who declined to give, by email, official details of the agency’s intervention in Rivers said the deputy governor’s statements show “how the state perceives what we have done so far.”

“We have intervened and will continue to intervene in Rivers State as the need arises,” he said.