The Rivers State Government has berated the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for excluding the state among states that benefitted from funds disbursed to states suffering flooding last year.
The state Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon Emeka Onowu, who spoke while addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, expressed sadness that the state was denied the funds last year, and advised the Federal Government not to play politics with the lives of people affected by floods.
This is as he said this year’s flooding will be worse, but assured that government has put necessary measures in place to alleviate the sufferings of those that would be expected.
Onowu said, “Let me say this, last year (2017), Bayelsa. Rivers, Delta, Kogi and Anambra states were listed as the foremost states that will be affected by floods. Do you know that Rivers State was excluded by the federal government?
“So, I begin to ask myself certain questions. Must we play politics with everything? Even with human lives and property. Assuming you play politics with property, but human lives that cannot be redeemed!
“And money was released to NEMA by the Federal Government to these other state i mentioned; but Rivers State was excluded,” he stated
He, however, expressed happiness that despite the disposition if the Federal Government towards the state, Governor Nyesom Wike had intervened and provided the necessary funds needed, “and we were able to get the relief materials to take care of those that were affected by the flooding.”
The commissioner stated that this year’s flooding would be worse, and advised members of the public to be on the alert, even as he said that the state government has taken steps to address perennial flooding in Eneka and Rukpokwu axis of Obio/Akpo LGAs.
“Eneka is naturally a flooded area. If you look the back of Eneka as a whole is swampy, it is water-logged. This has nothing to do with presence of drainages or not. It (flooding) must surely occur. ONELGA has drainage, Ahoada-West and Ahoada-East has drainages, but these places will be flooded.
“Let me use this opportunity to plead with the public that the flooding this year will be terrible (worse), so we want everybody to be on stand-by.
‘The moment we are ready, we will be on air and begin to evacuate people to transit camp and from transit camps to the main camps where they will be, reiterating that two relief camps have been opened in Ahoada and Aluu, respectively.
“Our transit camp is going to be at Ahoada where we will first receive people and from there we will allocate them to the main camp in Aluu and other areas,” he stated.
It would he recalled that the state government has said about 67, 000 people across five local government areas of the state will be affected by the floods this year