Some victims of 2018 flood disaster recorded in Anambra have expressed their concerns over the seeming fraudulent manner officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were distributing relief materials approved for them by the Federal Government.
The aggrieved victims made their feelings known at a news conference on Tuesday in Otuocha, Anambra East Local Government Area headquarters.
They claimed that the NEMA team brought rotten yams, cocoyams and other seedlings to farmers in the area for the planting season in 2019 about a month to commencement of 2019 harvests.
Igwe Alex Edozieuno, the Traditional Ruler of Mkpu Nando Aguleri Otu, Anambra East Local Government Area, said at the briefing that NEMA were not equally transparent in the distribution of relief materials in the area.
“In 2012 when we had flood disaster in Anambra East, the Federal Government gave each of the affected communities N9 million to source seedlings and the money was equitably shared among the victims.
“This time around, the NEMA team in charge of relief materials distribution in the state came to Otuocha in the company of suspected touts who disrupted the distribution and forced the team to drive away with the relief materials.
“We are in June and by next month, we will start harvesting and this is the time they are bringing relief materials to assist farmers and some of the yams are already rotten,” he said.
He said that the Red Cross team that brought N30,000 as relief to the 2018 flood disaster victims were more organised.
Edozieuno said that the three communities of Enugu Otu, Mkpu Nando Aguleri Otu, and Ezi Agulu Otu affected by the flood, had noted that that the relief materials meant for them were kept in Otuocha kilometers away from the areas of the victims.
He regretted that the rice seedlings and yam seedlings brought to the flood victims were not the varieties planted in the area.
“We are highly unhappy with the way and manner the officials are handling the distribution of relief materials, if it is possible, let government emulate Red Cross team that brought cash to victims,” he said.
The royal father noted with regrets that NEMA officials claimed that his name was not among the enumerated farmers, when the list he showed to journalists as enumerated victims has his name as number 484 person.
Mrs Bolanle Ojo, Head of NEMA, Awka, Anambra dismissed the claims by the flood victims from Anambra East, noting that the relief materials were kept in Otuocha, the council headquarters in line with the directives of the agency’s management.
Ojo said some officials of Anambra Government were among the team that distributed the materials in Otuocha.
She said though some of the relief materials were tampered with by hoodlums, the committee handling the distribution extended the materials to only the enumerated farmers.
Mr Paul Odenigbo, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Anambra, said 18,000 farmers were initially enumerated as flood victims in Anambra, but the final list showed only 4,600 persons.
He said though the timing of distribution was late, farmers in the state should accept the relief materials in good faith.