10th November, 2012
Vice President Namadi Sambo on Saturday arrived Plateau state Saturday to assess the extent of damage inflicted by Nigeria’s worst flood disaster. And he could not believe the shocking devastation he saw, declaring it as simply ‘unbelievable”.
Accompanied by a coterie of public officials, the vice-president toured the affected areas by helicopter after landing at the Yakubu Gowon Airport in Jos.
Among the officials in the team are the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Ahmed Sidi, and the Commander, Special Task Force in charge of peace in Plateau, Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola.
Also in the team are Water Resources Minister Sarah Ochekpe and the state Police Commissioner, Mr Emmanuel Ayeni.
After the aerial inspection, he moved to the Shendam township stadium to meet victims and some community leaders, and told them the Federal Government had received donations running into N10 billion to assist the flood victims. This is in addition to the N21 billion relief assistance announced by President Goodluck Jonathan .
The flood affected many local governments, including Shendam, Langtang North and South, Mangu, Wase, Kanam, Pankshin, Jos North and Jos South, Kanke, Riyom and Barkin Ladi.
According to NEMA Coordinator in the North-Central, Alhaji Abdulsalam Mohammed, hundreds were killed, while several thousands were rendered homeless because their houses were washed away.
The floods also washed several farms, destroyed several bridges and the link road between Plateau and two states – Nasarawa and Taraba.
According to Sambo: “The donations were from individuals and organisations and we shall ensure they got to only the victims,’’
He said that President Goodluck Jonathan was saddened by the development and stressed that the Federal Government was worried over the destruction of farmlands and bridges.
Sambo expressed government’s commitment to ensuring that the victims were settled and advised those affected to be calm.
He said that part of the monies realised had been released to the health minister to check against any outbreak of diseases in the affected areas.
“We also expect some special attention to the camps of the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs), so as to ensure that there are no outbreaks of any diseases there in view of the usually abnormal situations there.’’
He said that funds had also been released to the agricultural ministry to purchase special seeds and other farm implements for distribution to farmers in the affected areas.
The vice president said that steps had also been taken to ensure that the items were shared strictly to deserving individuals and communities.
He expressed gratitude to persons and groups that had seen the need to donate to assist the victims.
Sambo promised government’s continued assistance to the victims, pointing out that government had always been committed to people in such circumstances.
“We are with you in this time of disaster and shall provide a shoulder to lean on.
“We are also committed to providing the dividends of democracy to particularly people caught in this difficult condition.’’