From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana, has assured flood victims across the Niger Delta that there would be a comprehensive intervention to ameliorate their sufferings.
Speaking during a working tour of one of the devastated areas at Ihuike community in Ahoada East Local Government Area, Rivers State, yesterday, Umana expressed shock at the level of devastation.
He pledged that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC will commence remedial action on the road.
The minister, who was accompanied by the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, and other directors of the commission, described the flood disaster as a national emergency.
Umana said: “I have directed the NDDC to engage SETRACO, the construction company working on the road, to quickly assess the damages at the Ahoada section of the East West Road, so that they can commence remedial repairs to restore the link between Rivers and Bayelsa States.”
He said that his ministry was collaborating with the NDDC, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other Federal Government parastatals, as well as state governments, to offer medical and infrastructural assistance to impacted communities in the affected states.
Umana expressed sympathy for the thousands of persons displaced by the flood, and the families of those who have lost their loved ones.
He noted that urgent measures were being taken by the various organs of government to assist communities in the Niger Delta region by providing relief assistance to displaced persons, as well as rebuild damaged infrastructures across the region.
The minister pleaded with the people across the region to assist one another to overcome these challenges, stating that he and his staff were working round the clock with other government agencies to provide relief materials to all affected persons across the region.
Also speaking at the occasion, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, Audu-Ohwavborua, restated the assurances given by the minister on addressing the challenges posed by the flood.
He stated: “NDDC shall within the coming days, engage and mobilize Setraco Construction Company to the failed and unmotorable sections of the East-West Road linking Rivers State and neighbouring states.
Audu-Ohwavborua stated that while the engineers are on site working to repair the road, “The NDDC, as an interventionist agency, will complement the efforts of both the Federal and State Governments by providing relief materials to those affected by this unfortunate disaster and boats will be provided soon to ease the stress commuters face on a daily basis.”
The minister later visited the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, where he held an interactive session with staff at the Commission.
He announced that the Federal Executive Council has directed Federal Government agencies to collaborate to provide relief materials for the victims of the flood water as a matter of urgency.
Umana stated: “Some of the impending matters that impeded the performance of the Commission have been dealt with. For those matters, I have presidential approval for the transmission of the 2021/2022 budget of the Commission. I also have presidential approval that recovered funds be released. The President directed that those funds should be used to fund core infrastructural projects in the region.
“I am also happy to state that some of the serious pending issues, like the absence of the NDDC Board has also been addressed and as we speak, Mr. President has transmitted the names of members of the Board to the Senate and I do know that on resumption the Senate would act on it.”