24 February 2013

Nigeria: Minister Accuses Oyo of Abandoning Storm Victims

The Federal Government has accused the Oyo State Government of failing to assuage the sufferings of victims of wind and heavy rainfall in the state last week.

The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Olajumoke Akinjide, on Saturday, accused the state government of refusing to distribute the relief materials provided by the federal government, to the victims, through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.

The minister, in a statement by her media aide, Isiaka Kehinde, called on the Oyo State Government to commence immediate distribution of the relief materials.

A storm and heavy rainfall occurred in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Sunday, February 17, damaging about 1000 homes, rendering many homeless, and causing the death of at least three people.

The minister said NEMA has identified victims in the five Ibadan Local Government Areas largely affected by the flood. The Local Governments are - Oluyole, Ona Ara, Ibadan South West, Ibadan South East and Ido.

She said the federal government responded immediately to the unfortunate incident by sending relief materials through NEMA to the victims in the state.

Even though the relief materials were delivered to Ibadan on Wednesday, February 20, NEMA officials have been reportedly standing-by for days waiting for their state counterparts, Ms. Akinjide said.

The minister, an indigene of Ibadan, said a 15-man NEMA team, led by the Abuja based Acting Director of Relief and Rehabilitation, E.U Eze, who represented the Director-General, supported by the Zonal Manager for the South West, Iyiola Akande, expressed serious displeasure over the lack of co-operation by the Oyo State Emergency Management Agency and Oyo State Government officials who kept postponing the commencement of the distribution of the relief materials to the affected victims.

The distribution, which was earlier scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, and then moved to Friday, was aborted by the Oyo State Emergency Management Agency, the minister said.

The relief materials donated by the Federal Government include: 2,000 roofing sheets, 800 bags of cement, 600 bags of rice, 500 roofing nails, 1,000 Zinc nails, 1,200 blankets, 2,000 mats, 300 mattresses, and 2,400 - 2x4x12 planks.

Ms. Akinjide bemoaned the action of the state government in frustrating the "genuine efforts" of the federal government at alleviating the plight of the victims.

Efforts to reach the spokesperson to the Oyo Governor, Festus Adedayo, were unsuccessful. But an official of the state government told PREMIUM TIMES that Ms. Akinjide's remarks were 'ignorant.'

"The governor has been inter-facing with the victims in affected local governments since the incident," the official said. "Everybody (victims and officials) is on the same page except Ms. Akinjide who is in Abuja."

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