28 February 2013

Nigeria: Grumblings As Nasarawa Begins Disbursement of N400 Million Flood Funds

Lafia — Victims of the recent flood incident in Nasarawa are grumbling over the activities of the task force on the Mitigation of the Impact of Flood Disasters, set up by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to disburse the N400 million federal government relief packages to flood victims in Nasarawa state.

A cross section of the victims who spoke to our correspondent said the activities of the task force were shrouded in secrecy.

The task force commenced the disbursement of the funds at the weekend in Loko, one of the communities impacted by the floods which ravaged many parts of the state.

Five months after the relief package of N400 million was released by the federal government each household affected by the floods received between N2,000 and N3,000 from the task force.

The Dr. Mustapha Bello-led task force also handed the affected families one bag of assorted grains each. The task force has, from weekend, covered much of the critical areas affected by the flood, and would complete the first phase of the exercise by today.

But the distribution attracted grumblings from victims of the flood, most of whom complained that government was neither accountable, nor transparent in the management of the funds, just as some complained that their families were kept in suspense for five straight months in wait for a bag of grains and between N2,000 and N3,000.

"Is it because of a bag of corn and N2,000 for each family, that government kept us waiting for months? Most surprising, the committee is not saying anything about the data for us to know how many persons are benefitting from how much", said a beneficiary who dragged a bag of grains in anger.

Most of the victims complained that their questions about how much the task force earmarked for cash disbursement, and how much for other aspects of relief including grains, as well as how the task force arrived at the decision to dish out between N2,000, and N3,000 to each household; have remained unanswered.

Daily Trust recalls that task force chairman, Dr. Bello had explained that the package was not designed to restore all what individuals have lost to the unfortunate occurrence. He added that in weeks to come, the task force will collaborate with the state government to provide facilities including schools, primary heath care centre as well as sink boreholes in the affected communities.

He said the task force was also assessing the possibility or otherwise of relocating some communities completely destroyed by the flood.

According to the statistics which the state government availed to the federal government on the flood include 95,538 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in about 200 communities cutting across 10 local government areas, who were affected by the floods which ravaged the state between June and October of 2013.

But the task force chairman declined interview with our reporter about what data they are using in dispensing the relief package, and how much of the funds is being disbursed and how much was used for grains and other purposes.

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