Update: Plateau relief materials may have been stolen before fire incident

The state says the relief materials were lost in a fire.

The Executive Secretary of the Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Alhassan Barde, has confirmed the fire incident which reportedly consumed relief materials meant for victims of the 2012 flood disaster.

Mr. Barde in a telephone interview in Jos on Monday said the incident occurred in Jos North LGA former secretariat about a month ago. He added, however, that it was minor and only affected the store where grains were kept.

He said that a committee has already been set up by the state government to investigate the cause of the fire after stating that the fire had been caused by an electrical fault.

However, according to a witness’ account of the fire incident, the relief materials had already been stolen, and were not in the store, before the fire.

PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the witness’ claims and officials would not confirm or deny it.

The Executive Secretary informed that the committee charged with the responsibilities of distributing the relief materials to the plateau flood victims had commenced distributions before the fire.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how over 8 months after the flood, the state government was yet to distribute both the money and materials to thousands of victims of the floods. The Commissioner for Environment, Sarah Yusuf, had said in April that the N500 million assistance, given to the state by the federal government, was inadequate.

“If we share the money given to us by the federal government to assist victims of flood, each of them cannot receive N1000 each,” she said.

Meanwhile, most victims of the 2012 flood have returned to their original places of abode following the failure of the state government in providing alternative places for them.

After a notice in February by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which cautioned that if adequate precautions are not taken by authorities, people living close the river banks may experience another flood, the state government advised those who may be potentially affected to relocate to the hinterland to avoid a recurrence of the 2012 disaster.

According to NEMA, several states in the country including Plateau State could badly be flooded this year on a much larger scale than the 2012 incident; as a result of heavy rainfall that is expected in 2013. The agency said 25 million Nigerians may suffer from floods that may accompany the expected rainfall.

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