Flood Relief: RVHA Decries Rivers’ Exclusion …As RSWA Bill Scales First Reading


The Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday decried the exclusion of the State among the 15 States that received relief materials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) following flooding that ravaged some states early this year.

Miffed by what the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said amounted to discrimination against Rivers State, the House resolved to invite NEMA in order to be briefed on why the State was excluded to benefit from the relief materials.
Motion on the matter was raised by Hon. Tekena Granville representing Asari-Toru Constituency  1, who expressed sadness that despite being hit by flooding sometime in April this year, the State supposed to have benefitted from the NEMA relief effort.
While he commended the effort of the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike who after tour and inspection of the affected communities donated relief materials, the lawmaker expressed sadness that the federal agency neglected the State.
According to Hon. Granville, the situation is made worse by the fact that many coastal communities that face perennial flooding, as a result of their location were also neglected.
The lawmaker as part of the motion prayed that the House among others compel the federal authorities to include Rivers State in the N1.6billion NEMA relief programme.
He also sought for the setting up of a state taskforce on flood control which will liaise with NEMA in the future to tackle flood problems in the state.
The motion sparked off series of debates by the lawmakers. Opposition lawmakers who include member representing Port Harcourt Constituency 1, Victoria Nyeche and that of Gokana Constituency, Dr. Innocent Barikor had called for the setting up of a commission referred to as Climate Change Commission.
Nyeche specifically argued that there was no need for a taskforce, but that proactive measures on flooding should be put in place, as she claimed that her constituents in Nkpogu did not benefit from the last state sponsored relief materials provided to flood victims.
After taking votes on the floor over the matter with majority supporting the motion, the Speaker declared that, “the Federal Government is duty bound to protect our interest”, while insisting that “there should be no discrimination of any sort by NEMA in the distribution of relief materials”.
The Speaker recalled that early this year after the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) predicted that there will be flooding, Rivers State was the foremost state hit by the disaster, “I believe that the motion is key because the welfare of our people is very important to us”.
At its plenary last Wednesday, the House passed the bill seeking to establish the Rivers State Waterways Authority (RSWA) at its first reading.
The Speaker held that the bill will control and prohibit indiscriminate building on waterways when passed into law.
The bill is expected to address the establishment and composition, tenure of office, removal and remuneration of the governing board of the agency and others.


Original post by http://www.thetidenewsonline.com/2017/10/20/flood-relief-rvha-decries-rivers-exclusion-as-rswa-bill-scales-first-reading/

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Bura-Bari Nwilo lives in Port Harcourt, in Nigeria. He is the author of A Tiny Place Called Happiness – a book of stories.

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