The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board has donated relief materials to some internally displaced persons camps in Bayelsa State to reduce the suffering of the flood victims.
Items delivered to the IDP camps in Igbogene and Oxbow Lake areas of Yenagoa and its environs included bags of rice, garri, cartons of spaghetti, sugar, salt; palm oil, groundnut oil, mosquito nets, and mattresses, among others.
The distribution of the materials formed part of the visit on Thursday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to some flooded communities in the state and the Okogbe-Ihuike-Ahoada section of the East-West Road, which was damaged by the disaster.
Speaking in an interview with journalists, Sylva, who was accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, and some top officials of the agency, described the destruction of the East-West Road as “unbelievable.”
He said the Federal Government would ensure rehabilitation work on the flood-ravaged portions of the road was completed early, adding that the government had already directed the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to repair works on the road.
According to him, the problem of frequent flooding across the country required collective effort to resolve, stressing that all stakeholders should jointly jettison political differences to find a lasting solution to the yearly menace.
“This is unbelievable. The devastation (of the East-West Road) is unbelievable. But of course, as you know we stand with the people. I have come all the way from Abuja with a message from the Federal Executive Council that we have given a directive to the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry to ensure that the repairs on this (East-West) road is completed expeditiously,” Sylva said.
He added, “The Federal Executive Council has already taken steps to ensure that this problem is resolved, at least the devastation that we see here is ameliorated as quickly as possible. But going beyond that, we must find a permanent and lasting solution to this problem and this we can only do as a people together, not minding political differences.”
Addressing the IDPs at the various camps, the minister said the Federal Government sympathised with them over their plight, saying that their present condition was not their fault but due to the flood situation.
He further said, “The Federal Government identifies with not only the Bayelsa people but the plight of the Niger Delta people. But yesterday, the decision was taken (at the Federal Executive Council ) to ensure that the rehabilitation of the East-West Road was speedily completed.
“But beyond that, I am here in addition to that, to ensure that we empathise with our people directly and we are able to send some palliatives. I have always said that this is a recurrent problem. So we as Bayelsans must find a solution to this problem, as a country, as Bayelsa, we must find a solution to this problem because we cannot continuously have this problem on year-on-year basis. Next year it will happen again. What will be the plight of our people?”
Receiving the donated items, the Oxbow Lake IDP camp commandant and Chief Whip of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Ebiuwou Koku-Obiyai, thanked the minister and the NCDMB for the donation and promised that the materials would be judiciously used for the welfare of IDPs.
The HeadlineNews reports that the Federal Executive Council had, at its meeting on Wednesday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, approved the variation by N260billion in the sum of the contract for East-West road project sections 1-4 from Warri to Port Harcourt, Eket, Oron.
This figure has brought the total amount required for it to N506 billion, as the original cost for the sections was about N246 billion.
The FEC also approved another N140 billion worth of contracts for the rehabilitation, construction, and reconstruction of some other roads in different parts of the country.