By David Onwuchekwa (Nnewi), Femi Folaranmi (Yenagoa), Jeff Amechi Agbodo (Onitsha), Charity Nwakaudu (Abuja)
Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party and former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, who visited Bayelsa State to condole with flood victims in the state over the ravaging flood across the state, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Bayelsa State, saying that n state could cope with such a disaster on its own.
Obi who came into Yenagoa with a chopper and was received at the Government House helipad, said: “I came in through the air and I saw the impact of the flood. I have been to other places, and I have never seen this kind of destruction. The Federal Government needs to declare an emergency in Bayelsa State. No state can cope with such a disaster on its own.
“I also appeal to the international community and donor agencies to support the affected states. Here in Bayelsa, we need help. This destruction is unimaginable,” he said.
At the Ox-Bow Lake IDP camp, Obi told the people that he was in the state to sympathise with them and encourage them not to lose hope.
Diri in his remarks expressed happiness for the visit and commended him for being the first presidential candidate to show solidarity with the people of the state.
The state government reiterated its commitment to providing comfort for citizens are at various internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across the state.
Also, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, will commence a tour of states with high incidents of flooding across all geo-political zones in the country, on Tuesday.
A statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, said the tours to states ravaged by flooding had become imperative in view of the trauma that the incidents had caused its victims.
“Consequently, the tours will provide the presidential candidate the opportunity to have on-the-spot impact assessment of the flooding incidents and give him a veritable window to input those ecological concerns into his policy documents,” Ibe said.
Similarly, the standard bearer of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr Dumebi Kachikwu, has promised to tackle perennial flooding in Kogi and other states in Nigeria if elected the president.
Kachukwu made this promise while speaking at a town hall meeting ahead of the commencement of the party’s campaign in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
While commiserating with the victims and families of those who lost their lives and property due to flooding, he said: “We cannot allow our people to continue to suffer hardships; this flood has cost us billions, several lives lost, farmlands and property destroyed. We must start thinking differently. We must know what we have and what we can do with the available resources,” he said.
He stressed the need for the country to get experts to examine the flood patterns to understand the gravity of flooding in every season to know how to tackle it.
Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the government of Cameroon to proffer a lasting solution to the flood devastation, which, he said, had become an annual occurrence.
He, however, suggested that solutions like construction of dams or diversionary channels could help solve the problem.
Soludo also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), organizations and good-spirited individuals to help alleviate the hardship of flood victims.
He said he was pained by the sufferings of the people displaced by the flooding ravaging the country at large and Anambra State in particular.
Governor Soludo made the call when he visited the internally displaced people (IDP) camps in Onitsha North Council Area.
“Anambra State Government is doing everything possible to alleviate the sufferings of the people. They need support now and afterwards because their houses, property and farmlands are submerged under water. I’m worried that they will have to start life afresh.
“We are receiving people from Delta State to join IDP camp in Onitsha North. Today alone, over 400 displaced persons have reported here,” Soludo noted.
He, however, expressed optimism that in the coming weeks the flood would recede and they would find their way back to their respective homes.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Seadogs, the Pyrates Confraternity, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the flood disaster ravaging many states in the country.
About 600 people have died and over a million people displaced across the 31 states in Nigeria in the wake of the flooding in several states.
The NAS Capon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a press statement condoled with victims of the flood disaster, and implored the Federal Government to deploy the military, paramilitary formations and relevant agencies to immediately evacuate those still at flood prone areas in Bayelsa, Anambra, Delta, Cross River and Rivers states against the backdrop of a warning that these states were still at risk.
He further called on the electorate in flood-ravaged areas to extract concrete assurances from the state actors, canvassing for votes on the construction of the Dasin Hausa Dam to mitigate the effect of flooding.
“The onus is on Nigerians to ensure whoever is seeking their votes for the highest office in the land must pledge his sincere commitment to completing the project in the shortest possible time. This is election season, and voters (especially in the flood-ravaged zones) have a golden opportunity and duty to extract these commitments from politicians as they canvass for their votes,” Owoaje added.
He also called for regular dredging of the River Niger and Benue, adding that the issues of climate change needed to be taken very seriously.
“It has also become imperative for the Federal Government to see to the regular dredging of the River Niger and Benue using the sand for sandbanks and beaches across the length to improve River flow. In addition, there is a need to initiate a robust integrated river basin management for effective flood risk reduction,” he said.
On her part, the member representing Onitsha North and Onitsha South in the House of Representatives, Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, has donated cash and food to the people displaced by the flood disaster in Anambra State, during her visit to their camp at Akpaka Housing Estate.
The lawmaker also donated the sum of N200,000, bags of rice, beans, garri, sugar, Milo, milk, Dittol, detergents, toilet tissue and bags of sachet water.
Ikpeazu, who expressed concern for the condition of the victims, told them that their suffering would not last long, assuring that they would soon return home.
She said that her token to the victims was to ameliorate their sufferings.