by Alexander O. Onukwue
After the Federal Executive Council meeting of July 12, Yemi Osinbajo, at the time the Acting President, directed the Ministry of Finance to release N1.6 billion for 16 states that had been affected by floods in the country.
According to Femi Adesina, the money was to be taken from the Ecological Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria and its purpose is to provide a cushion for the effects of the disaster on residents of the states, according to Premium Times.
It so happened that Benue was not among those states, bringing to question the criteria used for determining what states were chosen at the time. The money was to be disbursed through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to the affected states, many of whom claim not to have received it yet.
Speaking on the need for Benue to be included in the list, Governor Ortom’s media assistant, Terver Akase, said “Governor Ortom has set up a committee, headed by the deputy governor to see that relief is provided to Benue State people and as a long term plan, we are requesting that the Federal Government includes Benue on its list of states that will benefit from the ecological funds”
It should seem right that the state which has had over 110,000 persons displaced should get immediate attention in terms of financial assistance. Like the case of Paris Club refunds giving to states specifically for salaries, there should be a measure that ensures the state must be held accountable to their use of the funds, insisting that the affected communities and families benefit from it.
More than anything, this should not represent an avenue for stockpiling election campaign funds but an opportunity to rise to the humanitarian challenge that has left many devastated