On October 11, 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a 34-man committee co-chaired by business mogul Aliko Dangote and human right activist Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) to rehabilitate Nigerians affected by the flood that ravaged 22 states of the federation.
The committee was given one year to complete its assignment of rehabilitating the flood victims and advise government on strategies and steps to forestall future occurrence.
But after the expiration of the one year, the committee is asking government for more time and calling on Nigerians to contribute to the victims’ fund as its activities had been crippled by the paucity of funds.
In the course of the one year, the committee organised a dinner at which public spirited Nigerians donated over N10 billion in cash and promissory notes.
The activities of the committee came under criticism from Nigerians especially those affected by the 2012 flood which it was supposed to rehabilitate.
A group operating under the auspices of the ‘2012 Flood Victims’ at a recent press briefing said that the committee failed to live up to expectations.
“We are homeless, yet the committee has over N11 billion but cannot address our needs as contained in their terms of reference. We have all gone back to our houses and are living in fear of the impending flood as predicted by experts,” Hassan Alago, one of the group’s spokespersons said.
Daily Trust investigation revealed that the committee had since inception consulted with the 22 states affected and identified 12 states as the most affected. It also advertised bids for prototype of buildings it will be providing in the affected states for the victims for which states have agreed to provide land.
Mr Segun Ade, a human right advocate rated the activities of the committee as a complete failure as a result of its inability to carry out the duties assigned to it in one year.
“The terms of reference of the committee were clear from the onset. It is therefore surprising to see that after one year, the issues for which it was created to address are still left unattended to. What excuse do they have, rather they should be ashamed of their inability to handle a very crucial national assignment as this and tender apologies to Nigerians,” Ade added.
Reacting to the allegation of non-performance by the committee, Olisa Agbakoba, co-chair of the committee told Daily Trust that the committee has completed its assignment on paper. “But we need money to actualise all the things that we have planned.
“We have finished our work on paper. We have checked the immediate impact, controlled the disease element and distributed massive amount of relief. We are now in the post impact segment which is to help rebuild and rehabilitate those affected but we don’t have the funds. But since we are receiving some funds could we then have more time, so we applied for an extension of time to enable us as soon as the funds are mobilised to move to actualise the final plan.
“But I must tell you Nigerians are not responding, they are not contributing and this is not limited to those who pledged at the dinner but all Nigerians.
“It is important to note that the duty of our committee was divided into two phases. First phase was to assess the impact of the flood and those affected after which we gave assistance to the victims during the peak of the 2012 flood at the various camps. This assistance is in form of food, drugs and materials for them to cope with the situation at that time. Now we are heading to the second phase and we have done everything but we need money to actualise the phase and as a result of this we are asking for an extension to enable us get sufficient funds.
We need about N100 billion to address the situation on ground but Nigerians are not cooperating. What we have in our kitty as of today is about N12 billion. If every Nigerian contributes as low as N500 our job would have been completed long ago. It is on this basis that I’m reaching out to Nigerians through your media for them to contribute to the fund to enable us resettle the victims,” he added.
However, a source close to the committee told Daily Trust that the non-availability of Aliko Dangote and not funds was responsible for the inability of the committee to carry out its assignment within the one year.
“The bid for the prototype housing to prequalify contractors was concluded long ago but because Aliko is not available nothing can be done, all the duties of the committee have been grounded,” the source said.