26th September, 2012
Nigeria’s Federal Government has ordered the opening of identified bye- passes along the Lokoja-Abuja Highway to give reprieve to motorists stranded along the road corridor, Mike Onolemenen, the Minister of Works told reporters after today’s meeting of Federal Executive Council, FEC.
The Minister said with the bye-passes being created around the flooded area, the road which was declared closed to motorists by the Federal Roads Safety Commission, FRSC would be opened to motorists from Thursday.
The Minister said construction companies engaged by government are now working on creating the bye-passes which he described as a temporary measure to give succor to commuters and re-open movement between the southern and the northern states.
“As at this morning, we have attained about 60 per cent completion. From the way we are going, by tomorrow, the road should be opened to motorists. We have done a diversion at those drainages and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened”, said the Minister.
Also, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia, the Minister of Environment told journalists that a presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to assess the impact of flooding across the country presented a preliminary report to FEC.
According to her, the committee visited seven states to ascertain the extent of the damage done by the flood on life and infrastructure and to identify immediate areas of intervention and that the most devastating effect of the flood is in Kogi State where a major road has been rendered impassable by the flood.
Apart from the traumatic experience of the people affected, Mailafia also said the flood incidents pose threat to Nigeria’s food security with the huge loss of farmlands and also resulted in disruption of academic calendar and health challenges in the affected areas.
The Minister who said the flood was due to global change in climate said the River Niger which over-flowed its bank in Lokoja flows from Guinea Conakry through the northern Nigeria.
Idris Umar, the Minister of Transport, however denied that the flooding in Kogi was as a result of the dredging carried out on River Niger.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved the procurement of 16 million textbooks and library resources materials for distribution to all public primary schools and Junior Secondary Schools across the country during its meeting on Wednesday.
Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education, told journalists that the books will be made up of 5,746,489 of the textbooks in English Language, Mathematics, Basic Science and Technology would be for primary four, 5,151,450 for Primary Five, 2,568,700 for Primary Six and 3,222,210 social studies textbooks for Primary Three.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku also told journalists that the Council approved the execution of three infrastructural development projects in the Niger Delta region.
He listed the projects to include the construction of Kira- Dere –Mogho road in Gokona Local Government Area of Rivers and land reclamation/shore protection at Ogbeinana town in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta.