President Jonathan commiserates with Sokoto, Kebbi flood victims; directs construction of emergency bridges
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has commiserated with the Governments and people of Sokoto and Kebbi States over the devastating floods that have claimed some lives and displaced thousands of persons in several communities in both states.
He has therefore directed the Ministry of Works to collaborate with military engineers to curtail the floods, and immediately commence the construction of emergency bridges to aid rescue and movement of displaced persons in the affected areas.
The President gave the directive shortly after inspecting communities in Sokoto and Kebbi States that were affected by the flood, accompanied by the governors of the two states, the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, the Ministers of Environment and Transportation, the Minister of State for Works, and presidential aides.
The President, who flew in a chopper, inspected the flood-ravaged areas aerially for about one and a half hours including Argungu, Zuru and Yauri and Gwandu in kebbi State, and expressed sadness over the incident.
According to him, he had to shelve the Federal Executive Council as well as the PDP NEC meetings to assess the situation first hand and sympathize with the victims, after receiving the interim reports of the Minister of Environment, John Odey and the Minister of State, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, whom he directed to inspect the areas in advance.
“I feel very sad and sympathise with the people of Sokoto and Kebbi states over the floods. I asked five of my Ministers to come in advance and assess the situation, and the interim reports I received were quite disturbing.
“I left FEC and the PDP meetings because the people are more important than my meetings. We must share in the pain of the people and reduce their sufferings. The Federal Government is sad and committed to work with the state governments to cushion the sufferings of the people.
“NEMA has been on ground, and I have asked the Ministry of Works and army engineers to move swiftly to stem the floods, and build emergency bridges pending reconstruction of the roads when the areas are dry.”
Speaking, Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State thanked President Jonathan for his show of concern for the situation and the plight of the victims. “Your quick response in sending the Ministers and personally coming to see things for yourself reveal your leadership qualities and concern for the plight of the people,” he said.
Also speaking, Gov. Usman Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State expressed happiness that the President came to see things for himself, noting that but for his quick intervention and directives to the concerned Ministries and agencies, the situation could have been worse.
Among dignitaries who received at the Sokoto airport and Kebbi airstrip, were the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III and the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Mohammed Illiyasu Bashaar, respectively, and government functionaries of Sokoto and Kebbi states.