Rivers Lawmaker questions exclusion of Rivers State from NEMA flood ravaged states

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The Lawmaker representing Asari/ Toru Constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Tekenari Granville Wellington, has expressed reservations about the exclusion of Rivers State among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government led National Emergency Management Agency,NEMA, assistance to flood ravaged states.
A motion of urgent public importance titled MOTION TO URGE NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA) TO INCLUDE AND RELEASE TO RIVERS STATE FUND FOR FLOOD AFFECTED STATES, and tabled on the floor of the Assembly on Thursday, October 19, the lawmaker said the neglect meted out to the several ravaged communities in Rivers State by the Federal Government was one too many.

Hon. Tekenari Granville Wellington, who is also the House Committee Chairman on Transport, said it smacked of insincerity and hypocrisy that ‘ Federal Government released in July 2017 the sum of 1.6 Billion to NEMA to assist flood affected states of Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Lagos, Plateau, Sokoto, Edo and Bayelsa states, excluding Rivers State which during the period had a serious and already established flood case (April 2017).’

” Mr. Speaker, the time to prevail on the Federal Government to do the needful is now before the resumption of heavy downpour in the state, going by the fresh predictions and warning by NIMET to states that are located in the river basins.
” Mr. Speaker, permit me to make a very strong case for the recent wave of flooding sweeping through the nation, which just visited our state after two days non-stop torrential rainfall.
Mr. Speaker, I do this firstly, as a representative of a constituency on the coastal line of the state which is susceptible and vulnerable to flooding due to water body overflow.
” Secondly as a state legislator and concerned citizen of the state, who is very alarmed by the flood incident that ravaged homes and property recently. The ugly experience of large scale and widespread flooding in Rivers State in recent times can be traced back to 2012, ” a part of the motion reads.

BELOW IS THE FULL TEXT OF THE MOTION.
MOTION TO URGE NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA) TO INCLUDE AND RELEASE TO RIVERS STATE FUND FOR FLOOD AFFECTED STATES
The Rt. Hon. Speaker and my distinguished colleagues, let me first of all commend the efforts and gains of Rivers State government under the dynamic leadership of our governor, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON on the area of environmental protection and preservation.
Most importantly, let me wholeheartedly commend the governor for being very responsive in visiting flood affected areas to ascertain the level of damage and for providing relief materials to flood victims in the state, even at a time the Federal Government neglected victims of flood ravaged communities in Rivers State.
Mr. Speaker, permit me to make a very strong case for the recent wave of flooding sweeping through the nation, which just visited our state after two days non-stop torrential rainfall.
Mr. Speaker, I do this firstly, as a representative of a constituency on the coastal line of the state which is susceptible and vulnerable to flooding due to water body overflow. Secondly as a state legislator and concerned citizen of the state, who is very alarmed by the flood incident that ravaged homes and property recently.
The ugly experience of large scale and widespread flooding in Rivers State in recent times can be traced back to 2012.
In March 2012, the Nigerian Meterological Agency (NIMET), warned about imminent heavy rainfall and the attendant flooding in most parts of the country, especially the coastal states and river catchment areas.
True to the forecast by NIMET, the first flood disastrously spread to so many states in northern and southern part of Nigeria, ravaging and sacking people from their homes in a manner likened to the days of Noah in the Bible.
Mr. Speaker, in 2015, just two years ago, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA) again predicted that regardless of the fact that there won’t be a lot of rain that year, areas located at River Basins Niger and Benue, Sokoto-Rima, Anambra, Cross River, Niger Delta and several other sub-basins in the country will experience river flooding in 2015. Where as much as 1000 persons were displaced from their homes, as a result of the flooding due to the overflowing of the Orashi River that sacked about 60 homes and 5 churches in Ahoada-West LGA, Rivers State.
Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished Colleagues, in March this year (2017), NIMET once again predicted early onset of heavy downpour with likelihood of early cessation.
Apart from the large scale flash flooding and urban flooding that occurred in many parts of Rivers State, especially within Port Harcourt metropolis, after the heavy downpour on Saturday, 22nd July, 2017 and Sunday, 23rd July, 2017, several similar severe cases of flooding have been witnessed by our people, especially in in the state like Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Khana, Ahoada, Emohua, Ogba/ Egbema/ Ndoni, Ikwerre, Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru, Degema and so many other LGAs in the state.
Mr. Speaker, it is on record that recently, the Federal Government released in July 2017 the sum of 1.6 Billion to NEMA to assist flood affected states of Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Lagos, Plateau, Sokoto, Edo and Bayelsa states, excluding Rivers State which during the period had a serious and already established flood case (April 2017).
Mr. Speaker, the time to prevail on the Federal Government to do the needful is now before the resumption of heavy downpour in the state, going by the fresh predictions and warning by NIMET to states that are located in the river basins.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, Sir, and distinguished colleagues, against these backdrops, I pray as follows:
1) That this honourable house call on the Federal Government to include Rivers State as part of flood affected states, in a similar manner that the Nigerian Senate on 11th July, 2017 asked the Federal Government to release money to NEMA to cushion the effect of flood in Niger State. This led to the release of 1.6 billion naira for distribution amongst 15 more states – Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, Kwara, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Lagos, Plateau, Sokoto, Edo and Bayelsa states.
2) That this honourable house commend the spontaneous concern and reaction exhibited by the Rivers State governor, His Excellency Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, for visiting flood affected areas to ascertain the level of damage and for providing relief materials for flood victims in the state.
3) That this honourable house recommend and support the setting up a state task force on flood control which will act as the state emergency management agency to liaise with NEMA to ensure prevention of flood disaster, set up IDP camps in case of future occurrences and provide safety nets/palliatives for flood victims and affected communities.
4) Any other preventive and pallative measures this 8th Assembly deems necessary.


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