Daily Trust (Abuja)

1 January 2013

Nigeria: Cash Disbursement to Reach Flood Hit Nasarawa Communities This Week

Lafia — The 95,538 recorded Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the floods of 2012 which hit not less than 200 communities in Nasarawa State, will begin to receive their cash disbursement from the N400 million federal government relief package to the state, Dr. Abdullahi Idris, secretary of the taskforce on the management of the funds and other related matters, said.

He told Daily Trust, today, that the taskforce will sit by tomorrow (Wednesday), to decide when the disbursement will commence, but added that "I think we will start by Thursday."

A total of 95,538 IDPs, about 8,000 from Guto alone, were recorded to have been displaced, and have been camping in four camps of Guto in Nasarawa, Tunga in Awe, Umaisha in Toto, and Rukubi in Doma, after about four months of flooding ravaged the state in 2012. Much of the communities hit are located along the Benue River, which over flooded during the rainy season.

Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has had to face mounting criticism because the disbursement of the funds did not come earlier enough, but Dr. Idris, who is also the Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Emergency Agency (NASEMA), explained that the state already had a relief package which funds and relief materials were already reaching the affected communities. He said the state government had to follow due process, in terms of ascertaining the actual data of displaced persons and communities, as well as the extent of the damage.

He said the taskforce set up, eventually, was part of the due process in the management of the federal government relief package. "It is part of our duty to disburse the funds, and that we are going to commence this week", he said, adding that areas affected by the river surge will be considered first, while areas affected by other forms of flood will come next. He however did not state the amount of money involved, explaining that the proposal is yet to receive the governor's approval.

Dr. Idris also said the taskforce procured building materials to be distributed to the displaced persons, to enable them resettle. "We procured building materials to enable displaced persons to resettle, after we had funds release. But the cash disbursement will come first", Dr. Idris said.

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