Members of the Edo State Executive Council have visited the family of the late Victoria Oparanti, a six-year-old kindergarten 3 pupil of New Generation Group of Schools, who drowned in a flood at the five-junction axis of Benin, on her way back from school.
Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, who led the state government’s delegation to Victoria’s home at Osama Lane, Wire Road, in Benin, said Governor Godwin Obaseki was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident and extends his condolences to her parents and other members of her family.
He assured that preventive measures will be put in place in the area to forestall recurrence.
“The governor is touched by the unfortunate incident, as his responsibility as a governor is to protect life and property in the state. We share in your grief as a government and are doing all to ensure such does not happen again,” he said.
He assured that the state government is repositioning the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to respond faster to crises and emergencies, noting that in a few days’ time, the state will set up emergency call centres for residents to contact government officials during emergency.
Ohonbamu said steps are already being taken to barricade the drainage and install signposts to notify people of potential danger, while walking close to the drains.
Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Ms. Omoua Alonge Oni-Okpaku, said a search party is on the lookout for the child’s corpse.
“I want to assure you that the search to recover the body of your late daughter is on. The government will not rest until it is found. In a matter of days, we will provide road signs to notify people of potential danger and the existence of such large drains on the affected portions of the road,” she said.
The delegation also visited Pa Omoruyi Idiaghe, the Okaidun of Iyesegie Street, where the family resides, and consoled them over the unfortunate incident. Pa Idiaghe thanked the team for the visit and urged the state government to install cautionary signs at the spot, to forestall future occurrence.
“This woman just moved to this area a month ago. She is a very good woman, respectful and responsible. It is so painful that such a thing happened to her,” he said.
The delegation later took the mother of the late Victoria, Mrs. Bright Oparanti, who sustained injuries while struggling with her daughter in the flood incident, to specialist hospital in Benin, for treatment.
Meanwhile, the Edo and Delta state governments have called on border communities in both states to sheathe their swords and live harmoniously pending the determination of boundaries by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).
The advice was contained in a communique issued after a joint inter-state boundary meeting between Edo and Delta states at the Government House, in Benin, the Edo State capital.
The two states committed to prevailing on the NBC to expedite action on final demarcation and survey of the disputed boundaries between the two states.
“A committee has been set up to look into legal and boundary issues relating to the two states.
“The committee will comprise of the attorney general of each state, commissioner of police of both states; chairmen of Orhionmwon and Esan South East local government areas of Edo State and Ethiope East, Ukwani and Ika South local government areas in Delta State. Other members include surveyor general of each state and the deputy chief of staff of Edo State.”
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, called on border communities in Edo and Delta states to sheathe their swords over claims and counterclaims of land ownership, stressing that efforts are in top gear to resolve the dispute, with the NBC.
Shaibu said: “Despite the boundary dispute, we are still brothers. We were carved out of the old Bendel State. We should remain indivisible.
“In 2001, the Federal Government waded into the crisis by directing the NBC to undertake the provisional demarcation of the boundary between the two states.”
Shaibu urged the NBC to take urgent steps on the final demarcation of the boundary, as it will lay to rest the lingering tension and agitation between border communities of the two states.
“This inter-state boundary meeting is convened to douse the mounting tension in the border communities of our states.”
Shaibu appealed to all communities in the border areas of Edo and Delta states to embrace peace, as the NBC and governments of Edo and Delta states intensify effort to ensure the demarcation of the boundary between the two states without further delay.