30 October 2012

Nigeria: Uduaghan Gets Aki and Paw Paw to Encourage Delta Refugees

Photo: Henry Unini/Vanguard
Nollywood stars Chinedu Ikedieze and his friend Osita Iheme (Aki and Pawpaw) during a visit to some of the flood displaced persons in ICE camp, Asaba, Monday.

Determined to make them forget their sorrows and straits, even if temporarily, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has introduced a fun-menu to the daily routine of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in his state.

Famous Nollywood actors, Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikediezie, popularly known as Aki and Paw Paw, were Monday brought to Asaba, the State capital, to address the flood victims, as well as encourage them and make them laugh a little.

The duo while assuring the IDPs that all shall be well again, called on well-meaning Deltans, individuals and corporate bodies to reach out and support the state government in the effort to alleviate the sufferings of the victims, stressing that given the enormity of the challenges posed by the disaster, the relief package and programme are beyond the capacity of the state alone.

The actors who toured some rehabilitation camps in Asaba, said they had come to further inspire the victims to keep hope alive. They said they were moved by the plight and situation of the victims and decided to come out and support the state government in an effort to bring relief to the displaced persons through words of encouragement.

"We were devastated when we heard on the local news what had happened and we couldn't believe that such a thing could happen in this country. We decided to come and show our support and also to let you know that you are not alone and everything will be alright," they stated.

The actors commended the state government for the structures and facilities put in place for the IDPs as well as the passion and dedication displayed by Uduaghan, urging other affected states to emulate what is going on in the state.

They encouraged the displaced persons not to give up hope explaining that the flood was a natural disaster which would pass away soon and urged them to be thankful to God for keeping them alive. They further charged the victims to remain prayerful and peaceful while in the camps.

Uduaghan commended the actors for coming out to encourage the IDPs and support to the state government in its bid to alleviate the plight of the victims.

He assured the victims that the state government would not relent in the efforts to improve their living conditions.

Meanwhile, the governor has constituted a 12- man Flood Committee which would prudently manage the Federal Government's flood aid of N500 million as well as design a roadmap for easy resettlement of the flood victims.

Uduaghan who gave the charge while inaugurating the committee in Asaba, said the greatest challenge facing the state on the flood issue was how to resettle the displaced persons and enjoined the committee to be diligent in its work.

He explained that the rehabilitation of the displaced persons was a big issue and therefore decided to put in place a seasoned committee to oversee the post-flooding rehabilitation so that the victims would be resettled properly.

The governor urged the committee to as much as possible reduce that impact of dislocation and promised to solicit for more funds to make the work of the committee easier.

"I know that the fund from the Federal Government will not be enough. We will therefore solicit for more funds so that you can adequately cater for the post-flood programme. We will do everything to make sure that the individuals and communities are adequately assisted."

The governor also enjoined the committee to liaise with Delta State University (DELSU) Technical Committee on the flooding and use the data gathered to facilitate its operations.

He explained that the DELSU Technical Committee was assembled to give professional advice on how best to handle the rehabilitation of the flood victims.

Uduaghan further charged the committee to put in place structures that would support facilities and systems to bring succour to the flood victims in the state.

The governor reminded members of the committee that the state government had managed the needs of the displaced persons since the flood issue started with its own resources and appealed to them to "note that there are high expectations from Deltans and should therefore use the fund for resettlement purpose only."

Responding, the chairman of the committee, Justice Francis Tabai (rtd), promised that the committee would work hard to meet the expectations of Deltans.

Justice Tabai described the flood as monumental and assured the governor that the committee would tackle the problem selflessly and produce result.

Members of the committee are Prof. Pat Utomi, Arch-Bishop God-Do-well Awomakpa, Mrs. Florence Ehinlaye, Dr. Thomas Okpaku, Parm Paul Enebeli, Dr. Asanuvwie S. Oberhiri and Dr. M. O. Osarenkhoe.

Others are Engr. Owen Mordi, Olise Ifejika, Barr. Oghenejabor Ikimi and Onyeisi Nkenchor, who would serve as secretary.

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