Juliana Taiwo, Abuja
Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano on Tuesday sought President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention alleviating the suffering of over 5,000 people displaced by floods in four local government areas of the state.
He told State House Correspondents after the meeting that he was in the presidential villa to brief the president of their predicament and appealed to him for intervention because of their loss of properties and farm produce.
Obiano said: “As usual, I come once in while to brief Mr. President on the developments we are having in Anambra state and we do have a lot of beautiful developments. We also have some that bothered me to come right now, which is the flood.
“Four of my local governments, that is four out of 21 are under water now as we speak because of this flood and it affected a lot of things, properties which include farm produce and what have you.
“So, I called on Mr. President to assist us at this very crucial time being a COVID time and now, the flood we are experiencing this time around is like 2012 which is terrible.
“So, he promised to do something immediately.”
On the extent of damage, Obiano said: “We have over 5,000 people displaced and we already prepared some receptacles where we received the displaced people. But they will need help now and also need help when the water is receding because they lost their property which majorly include their produce which was nor harvested before this flood creeped in.
“I believe Mr. President will be able to assist us to be able to support these families that have been displaced in this manner.”
The governor said he also discussed the issue of the 2nd Niger Bridge and the state of federal roads with the president, asking also for his intervention to fast track the ongoing construction work.
The governor said that although half of bridge had been accomplished, high level of water has slowed down work as the specific equipment already purchased and needed to continue the work are idling away in Germany.
Obiano said he briefed the president on the inability of the contractor handling the 2nd Niger Bridge to continue the work because of the equipment lying back in Germany.
He said: “I did also apprise him on the progress so far made on the 2nd Niger Bridge. If you watch from their side, you will see that almost half of that bridge has been done. But because the water level is very high, the contractor working in that bridge requires some equipment which they’ve already purchased long ago sitting in Germany and requires some support from Central Bank to be able to bring in those equipment. I did mention that to him and the President noted that and said he will do something about that.”
He said he also got the president’s assurance to look into the issue of the Federal University of Education, Aguleri, already approved by the Senate to enable it take off.
According to Obiano: “The other point was on the Federal University of Education in Aguleri. Anambra North Senatorial District does not have any federal institution at all. Other two senatorial districts have two or three federal institutions. The place is part of the place I just told you that is flooded – Anambra West, Anambra East, the whole of Anambra West is under water now, half of Anambra East is under Water, Ogbaru area is under water. All these are majorly Anambra North.
“So, the Senate graciously approved and wrote to Mr. President to assent to the bill that they passed. This letter was written 19th September 2019. So, Mr. President has agreed to quickly acquiesce to that so that this institution can move on.
“On my own, I’ve paid compensation to the land owners and I’ve started the fencing of the massive property that is. And am doing the gatehouse of the institution. All I require is Mr. President’s support by acquiescing to the recommendations of the Clerk of the National Assembly on 19th September 2019.”
The governor said he also brought to the attention of the president the state of federal roads, particularly the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, adding that he requested the president to accommodate the roads in the 2021 budget.
Obiano further said: “We did discuss some other roads, federal roads that are in very bad shape, about six of them and I requested Mr. President to see if they can go into their budget as they prepare for the budget of next year, to see whether those roads can go into their budget.
“I did also talk to him that work has slowed down almost to zero on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway. I understand there are little issues, I don’t know what it is but he also promised to look into that.
“Mr. President is doing well in Anambra. You know he built the Zik Masoleum that took 23 years to build, the road he’s working on, the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, he finished that road as PTF chairman and he came back as president to come and fix that road again. So, that’s an important thing to remember that he did it before and he is the fellow doing it again.”
Obiano debunked insinuation that Buhari was not liked in the state saying: “That’s not true. In Anambra, we love the president very much. The president has been doing well, he’s building 2nd Niger Bridge. You think it’s very easy to build 2nd Niger Bridge? And I just told you that he was the fellow that did Enugu-Onitsha expressway when he was chairman of PTF and now, he’s the president fixing the road. Then, he build Zik Masoleum. You know you can’t talk about Nigeria without mentioning Zik.
“He built a befitting resting place for him. So, we love him in Anambra state.”