PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan says Federal Government has raised a total of N17.6 billion to tackle the flood currently ravaging the nation.
Speaking in a national broadcast, President Jonathan said that out of the total sum of N17.6 billion, the Federal Government has allocated a total sum of N13.3 to affected states while Federal Government agencies whose activities directly impact on the current flood amelioration programme will receive N4.3 billion. Out of this amount, the government, through it’s agencies, has so far expended the sum of N1.409 billion in providing short gap measures to the flood victims.
Jonathan said: “Based on the present assessment, the states have been categorised into four groups, A to D.
Category A states, made up of eight states of Adamawa, Oyo, Kogi, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Benue, Plateau will receive N500 million each.
Category B states, comprising Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross River, Edo, Lagos and Imo will get N400 million each.
Category C states, made up of Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers will get N300 million each.
category D states including Sokoto Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno and the Federal Capital Territory, Federal Capital Territory will receive N250 million each.”
The President commiserated with those who lost their loved ones and their property, promising that he and Vice President Namadi Sambo would personally visit affected states and victims.
And at the maiden meeting of the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council, which took place yesterday, the flood issue also came up while Jonathan stated that it was unacceptable that Nigeria was still importing some basic food items which could be produced locally, vowing that the trend would be reversed in the next three years.
The President, who assured that his government’s “agricultural transformation agenda is well on course,” added: “I have no doubt that with the kind of passion, policies and programmes that are being put in place, the broken walls of agriculture in Nigeria will be rebuilt and Nigeria will move from being the net food importing country to a net food exporting country. Our focus should be on irrigation, construction of rural roads, provision of power to our stable processing zones and improvement of our researches. We must strengthen farmers’ associations.
“We must also expand access to financing for farmers, agro dealers and processors. It is noteworthy that this inaugural meeting is coming up at a time when many parts of our country, including farmlands are being ravaged by unprecedented floodings. There is no doubt that this unfortunate situation will have adverse effects on agricultural production in the affected communities. I charge members of this council to make planning for the post impact implication of the ongoing flooding on agricultural production.”
Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, who briefed journalists at the end of the Council meeting alongside Governors of Adamawa (Murtala Nyako) and Akwa Ibom (Godswill Akpabio) and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector, said that Nigeria is well in line of meeting its targets. For example, while Nigeria is projected to produce 20 million metric tonnes of food annually by 2015, this year, 8.1 metric tonnes would be produced.
And to ensure that flooding does not negatively affect meeting of production targets, Adesina announced President Jonathan’s approval of flood tolerant crop varieties for immediate introduction to Nigerian farmers. Towards this, government would be introducing maize varieties that mature in 60 days, which would be deployed to flood devastated areas. The new maize variety, a collaboration between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and seed growing companies, is to be cultivated in 4,500 hectares of land.
Jonathan stated that while the Technical Committee on the flood will continue to go round the country, “the Vice President Namadi Sambo and I will visit some of the affected states and victims. When we receive the committees’ final reports, the federal government will further initiate medium and long term measures to check future flood disasters. In the mean time, federal government agencies have intervened to provide relief to the affected persons in collaboration with the state governments.”
On the total amount so far spent by Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), he said: “The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has so far spent N1.24 billion to provide immediate relief materials. The Ministry of Works has spent N556 million in the repair of collapsed bridges and the construction of bye-passes while the Ministry of Environment has spent N95 million on sundry relief measures. In addition to these, the federal government has decided on a number of measures to further ameliorate the situation. These include the immediate provision of the total of N17.6 Billion in direct financial assistance to the affected states and some Federal Government agencies responsible for disaster management.
“To further intensify their intervention activities, the following agencies of the federal government have also been allocated funds as follows; Ministry of Works, N2.6 billion, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, N1.1 billion, Ministry of Environment, N250 million, National Commission for Refugees, N150 million and the Technical Committee on Floods Impact Assessment N100 million.
Jonathan has also approved the establishment of a 34-member National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation. The committee was to raise funds in support of Government’s efforts to provide urgent relief for victims of recent floods across the country.
Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati, said in a statement that the Committee has been mandated to raise funds to complement government’s resources for the provision of relief to flood victims across the country and the post-impact rehabilitation of affected persons and communities.
The committee, which is also expected to advise government on the judicious utilization of funds raised, has been authorised by President Jonathan to co-opt any other person or organisation that it may find useful in carrying out its assignment.
The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide a secretariat for the Committee.It has been given one year to conclude its task.
The Committee has Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr Olisa Agbakoba as co-chairmen and Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr as Chief Fund Mobilizer. Other members of the panel are Alhaji Karami Isyaku Rabiu, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Ngo Hannatu Cholum, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Mr. Tony Elumelu, Mr. Tunde Lemo, (Representing the Central Bank of Nigeria), Mr Frank Nweke (Jnr.)and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.
Other members of the panel include Secretary-General, Nigerian Red Cross representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, United Nations Development Programme, European Union, Department of Foreign Investment and Development, United States Agency for international Denvelopment and the Permanent Secretaries of Federal Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Works, Health, Finance, Ecological Fund Office and National Planning.
The list also include Director-General, NEMA, Acting Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, chairman, House Committee on Environment and representatives of Nigerian Union of Journalists And National Council of Women’s Societies.