Adamawa flood victims lament ill-treatment, seek probe of FG’s N500mn donation

Victims of Adamawa floods say they were robbed of the Federal Government intervention fund.

Austin Ajayi

Victims of the Adamawa flood in 2012 that claimed thousands of lives and property, including farmlands worth billions of naira have appealed to the state governor, Murtala Nyako, to investigate the disbursement of the N500 million meant to alleviate victims’ sufferings.

The Federal Government gave N500 million to Adamawa, and to other states most affected by the flood, to mitigate the suffering of the victims and to help prevent future occurrences.

Some of the victims on Wednesday complained about the non-receipt of the financial assistance. They asked the governor to establish a probe panel to ascertain the criteria used by the Kobis Thimnu led committee to disburse the food item and other relief materials which were supposed to be distributed to flood victims.

The committee was set up by Mr. Nyako.

The spokesman of the flood victims, Audu Aminat, flanked by over 50 other victims said that they only heard that N500 million was dispatched to the state by the federal government but they never benefitted from it.

“As you can see, we are victims of the last years flood disaster drawn from nine local government areas of the state who were affected by the natural disaster but to our surprise none of us has benefited from the federal government gesture,” Mr. Aminat stated.

A cross-section of the victims that spoke to our correspondent revealed that they did not get a share of the N500 million. They alleged that the chairman of the committee, Mr. Thimnu, diverted the money for other purposes.

Some of the victims from Opalo ward in Lamurde Local Government Area of Adamawa said that about 200 victims in the area were given only N450 from the committee.

Claris Simon, a 43-year-old mother of two and a physically challenged said that she lost everything to the flood and that only N450 was given to her by the committee.

In Demsa and Numan local governments, victims disclosed that only N250 was given to them.

A cross section of the victims who spoke in Gindin-Kuka ward, one of the worst affected areas, said many of them were yet to get any assistance except for an offer of between N200 to N240.

The victims demanded a probe into how the N500 million was utilized.

Moses Ginam, a victim, said he learnt about the N500 million assistance from federal government in the media. He said he was yet to receive any assistance but was told that the sum of N93,000 was allocated to affected people in his area whereby each person would get N250.

“To be candid I only heard it on newspaper that N500 million was given to Adamawa state. We were told that we were given N93,000 and when you divide the money each household will get N250.

“Federal government should investigate this matter because people affected are not people benefitting from it,” he said.

Another victim, Francis Emmanuel, who also called for a probe, said his community in Mbula chiefdom had rejected the N1.5 million given to them as it is so meagre to go round.

“They sent N1.5 million to the entire Mbula chiefdom and the people refused it because if you are going to share this money to the people each will get just two hundred and something naira.

“Imagine somebody that lost his house, farm and you are giving him just N200,” Mr. Emanuel lamented.

Abdullahi Gindin-Kuka, who also called for probe into the handling of the federal government assistance, said he was asked to collect N240 from the ward head as assistance but he rejected the offer.

The victims insisted that the governor most set up a panel to probe the handling committee over the disbursement of the funds.

The state committee at a news conference last year claimed that N29 million was released to Lamurde LGA, N24 million to Numan LGA, and N19 million to Yola- South LGA.

But the leaders of the affected local governments refuted the claims.

The committee chairperson for Numan local government, Margret Zombotu, confirmed to our reporter that only N9 million, not N24million, was released to her committee.

In Lamurde, a member of the committee who did not want his name in print, told journalists that of the N29 million claimed to be released, they only got N13 million.

Further investigation revealed that there was no local government affected by the flood that received up to N20 million.

The handling committee had also claimed during a press conference that it set aside some amount of money for the purchase of fertilizers and tractors for the victims.

The committee said ten months after the fertilizers and tractors are yet to arrive in the state for distribution.

Commenting on the utilization of the N500 million, the Secretary to the Adamawa Government, Kobis Thimnu, who is also the state chairman of Quick Response Committee that handled the issues of flood victims, said the money was used for the purchased of 60 trucks

of fertilizer and early variety of seedlings, among others, for farmers.

Mr. Thimnu said the measure was taken because most of those affected were farmers.

“You are aware that the state is an agrarian state and that is why we decided to give priority to food security by providing fertilizer and seedlings to framers”, Mr. Thimnu said.

He also explained that cash was given to affected local governments based on level of destruction citing Lamurde local government as the worst affected.

Mr. Thimnu said committees were set up in each of the affected local government with commissioners from the affected local government serving as chairmen of the committees to handle the disbursement of the assistance to victims.

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