Francis Sadhere

Some Deltans badly affected by the 2012 flood disaster are still counting their losses and licking their wounds, one year after the unfortunate incident.

They have therefore raised alarm over their plight, wondering where all the funds doled out to the Delta State Government by the Federal Government to aid victims of the flood disaster had gone to.

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State.

Delta State 2012 flooded communities under the aegis of the Association of Flooded Communities in Delta State, are now on the neck of Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan urging him to release the N500million donated by the Federal Government to the affected communities.

In a communiqué issued at the  end of a crucial meeting in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the State, the affected communities held that they were still in pains as a result of the 2012 flood disaster.

The association resolved that the state government should disburse the flood money to all the affected communities in the state, alleging that since 2012, the committee set up by Governor Uduaghan had not visited any of the affected communities to ascertain the level of damage.

They also urged the state government to publicly render an account of how the flood money given to affected victims in the state was distributed; adding that the state should also declare how it distributed all the items donated to the victims by private individuals and NGOs.

The Association of 2012 Flooded Communities in Delta State also resolved that the state government should disclose the names of members of the flood committee headed by Justice Francis Tabai to ascertain how many of them were from the affected communities.

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Mr. Lawrence Akpeti, lamented the state’s government insensitivity to the plight of the flood victims, claiming that since the flood took place in 2012, the state government has forgotten about the victims, even with the whopping amount of money donated to the victims.

Mr. Lawrence said; “It is a pity that the State Government has refused to disburse the N500 million naira given to the state by the Federal Government. Most of our communities were completely flooded and up till now people have not been able to rebuild their houses that were destroyed during the flood. We want the state government to come out and tell us what they did with the money. We are not fighting them, but what we are asking is that they should come out and explain to us what they have done with the money. This is why we are here today asking the State Government that where is the flood money?”

“None of the affected communities today has benefitted from the flood money and nobody is saying anything. We must come out and voice out our grievances because it is our right. This divide and rule system of government is what they are using to discourage the people. Since the flood committee was set up by the state governor, the committee members have not come to any of the affected community to ascertain their situation. This is not a personal fight but we are fighting for our people,” he added.

Also speaking, co-convener of the meeting, Prince C. O. Ikpama, regretted that some people are just grumbling in their homes but are not coming out to fight for what rightly belonged to them, noting that most of the affected communities do not have the knowledge of what is going on and that was why they have remained dormant.

He therefore, called on all affected communities in Delta State to come out en-mass and fight for their right in demanding that the state government disburses the flood money to all the affected communities.

Prince Ikpama said; “A lot of people are just sitting in their homes grumbling when things are not going well. We need to come out and fight for our rights. Knowledge, they say, is power. If people have knowledge they will be forced to do what they initially thought they cannot do. We must stand up and begin to ask the government questions. What is happening to our flood money? What has the state government done so far with the money? If we continue to sit down and fold our hands the government will always take us for granted.”

“I want to ask a question; is it that government is so insensitive to the plight of the people? We want to know the members of the flood committee set up by Governor Uduaghan. How many of them are from the affected communities? These are the questions we should be asking. The Bayelsa State government had just finished disbursing its own N500 million and they have requested for more and they have been given. But why is that of Delta State different?,” he queried.

Most of the people who spoke at the meeting agreed that the state government should do something about the plight of the flood victims, just as they confirmed that affected communities had been suffering untold hardship since the 2012 flood disaster.

Mr. Bright Ogodo said that each time he thought about the flood money given to the state, his heart bleeds and implored the state government to disburse the money to the affected communities.

Our correspondent reports that the meeting was well attended by representatives of all the 2012 flooded communities in Delta State.

But a member of the flood committee headed by Justice Tabai who did not want his name in print claimed that the State Government had not misappropriated the flood money, saying that many of the flood victims had been reached with cash and relief materials.