In a bid to ameliorate the deplorable conditions of Nigerians who were affected by an unprecedented flood that ravaged some parts of the country, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has donated the sum of N58 million ($382,000) to the Nigerian Government in order to assist in assuaging the sufferings of the flood affected individuals.
Presenting the cheque to Nigeria's Foreign Minister, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru in Abuja, yesterday, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, pointed out that the core mandate of the commission is to render assistance to alleviate the sufferings of the ECOWAS people, who are affected by humanitarian challenges.
He said, "We monitored the disaster and its impact and are now reasonably informed of the magnitude of the devastation whose cost runs into several millions of Dollars. The extent of the disaster which spans through communities in States along the River Benue and River Niger with heavy impacts in Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Bayelsa and Delta States is most disturbing. Much more disturbing is the irreplaceable lives that were lost."
"Providing assistance to alleviate the sufferings of the ECOWAS peoples who are affected by humanitarian challenges is a core mandate of the ECOWAS Commission elaborated by the Protocol relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention, management, peace-keeping and security, which directs the commission to develop appropriate mechanisms and tools to enable it undertake humanitarian assistance where member States citizens are affected by man-made or natural disasters, he concluded."
In his response, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru commended ECOWAS for its kind gesture to the Government of Nigeria to mitigate the sufferings of flood affected Nigerians, adding that the ceremony was a true demonstration of the principle of "brothers' keepers."
In his own contribution, the Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mohammed Sani-Sidi posited that the impact of the recent flood situation on people, livelihood and environment is tremendous. Sidi disclosed that the flood disaster affected 32 States and culminated in the loss of lives, destruction of properties, breakdown of infrastructures, washing away of farmlands and displacement of about 2,157,419 Nigerians.