OYEKACHI Nwebonyi, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ebonyi, has called for an urgent probe into the abandoned Federal Government’s 10-year flood-control project in the state.
Nwebonyi made the call on Wednesday at Ugbodo, the headquarters of Ebonyi Local Government Area (LGA), during a sensitisation tour of the area by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
He said that the proposed projects were awarded in 2017 to tackle flooding at Iyoku River in Abakaliki and part of Izzi LGA.
He also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the circumstances leading to the abandonment of the project.
The PDP chairman commended NEMA and SEMA for embarking on the tour and urged them to sustain the exercise to reduce flooding in the area.
He said: “There are areas designated to channel water but that job has yet to be done.
“For 10 years now, only 10 meters and 20 meters of the projects were done in the two sites and the rest abandoned.
“We want EFCC and ICPC to investigate this to know why the job was abandoned or not funded.”
Mr Victor Aleke, representating Ebonyi North-West in the state House of Assembly, said that the sensitisation came when his constituency’s rice, yam farms and buildings were destroyed by flood.
Aleke expressed worry that victims of the flood were mong the farmers that took government agricultural loan in the state.
“Sensitisations like this should be coming early since the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted flooding in the area, while the documents should be made handy to stakeholders at the grassroots.
“This will help farmers to study the prediction to avoid putting their money where they will not harvest because state government and individuals had spent a lot in their farmlands.
“My constituents at Onueyim Ishieke community were badly affected by flood,” Aleke said.
Mr Benjamin Ezeoma, Deputy Chief Wip of the house, also lauded the sensitisation visit but said it should be timeous.
Meanwhile, the former Minister of Power and Steel and a stakeholder in the area, Chief Godwin Ogbaga, opined that the enlightenment would help to guide people in future, if sustained.
“Those who build on waterways and farm close to river will take caution if we make the sensitisation a continuous exercise,” Ogbaga said.
The council Chairperson, Mrs Chinyere Nwogbaga, also commended the agencies on their efforts to educate the people on the causes, prevention and management of flood.
Nwogbaga promised that Local Government Emergency Committee would be constituted to carry the campaign to the grassroots.
She pleaded with NEMA for quick intervention to assist victims of flood, fire and wind storm in the area.
“This sensitisation and predictions from these agencies should come early to enable people take precautionary measures,” she further said.
She said that farmlands, crops and buildings in five communities in the area were destroyed by flood.
The South-East Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Fred Anusim, said that six LGAs in the state were ravaged by flood.
Anusim said that following NIMET’s prediction, NEMA and SEMA embarked on an intensive sensitisation on causes, impact and management of the disaster.
He urged council chairmen and relevant stakeholders in Afikpo north, Abakaliki, Ezza north, Ikwo, Ohaukwu and Ebonyi to take the message down to their people.
“We are at the first phase of the disaster management, which is getting people informed, while proper monitoring of relief materials will be done when distribution commences,” he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise featured lectures on human induced causes, natural causes, prevention and management.
The programme attracted stakeholders, top government functionaries and farmers, among others. (NAN)
– Sept. 18, 2019 @ 17:12 GMT |