By Favour Nnabugwu
GOVERNOR Willie Obiano of Anambra State yesterday begged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene the 2nd bridge equipment purchased for the ongoing work which are still in Germany to be brought to Nigeria for the speedy completion of the project on record time.
Governor Obiano told President Buhari that the construction work at the Onitsha-Enugu federal highway has slowed down to almost zero level.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed-door with the President, Governor Obiano, who is the only governor on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, said that he sought the assistance of the federal government for the settlement of about 5,000 displaced people from his state.
On the reason for the visit, he said, “I come once in awhile to brief Mr. President on the developments we are having in Anambra state and we do have a lot of beautiful developments. We also have some that bothered me to come right now, which is the flood.
“Four of my local governments, that is four out of 21 are under water now as we speak because of this flood and it affected a lot of things, properties which include farm produce and what have you. So, I called on Mr. President to assist us at this very crucial time being a COVID-19 time and now, the flood we are experiencing this time around is like the one of 2012 which is terrible. So, he promised to do something immediately.
“I did also apprise him on the progress so far made on the 2nd Niger Bridge. If you watch from their side, you will see that almost half of that bridge has been done. But because the water level is very high, the contractor working in that bridge requires some equipment which they’ve already purchased long ago sitting in Germany and requires some support from Central Bank to be able to bring in. I did mention that to him and the President noted that and said he will do something about that.
“The other point was on the Federal University of Education in Aguleri. Anambra North Senatorial District does not have any federal institution at all. Other two senatorial districts have two or three federal institutions. The place is part of the area I just told you that is flooded – Anambra West, Anambra East, the whole of Anambra West is under water now, half of Anambra East is under Water, Ogbaru area is under water.
“All these are majorly Anambra North. So, the Senate graciously approved and wrote to Mr. President to assent to the bill that they passed. This letter was written 19th September 2019. So, Mr. President has agreed to quickly acquiesce to that so that this institution can move on.
“On my own, I’ve paid compensation to the land owners and I’ve started the fencing of the massive property. And I am doing the gatehouse of the institution. All I require is Mr. President’s support by acquiescing to the recommendations of the Clerk of the National Assembly on 19th September 2019.
“We did discuss some other roads, federal roads that are in very bad shape, about six of them and I requested Mr. President to see if they can go into their budget as they prepare for the budget of next year, to see whether those roads can go into their budget.
“I did also talk to him that work has slowed down almost to zero on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway. I understand there are little issues, I don’t know what it is but he also promised to look into that.
“Mr. President is doing well in Anambra. You know he built the Zik Masoleum that took 23 years to build, the road he’s working on, the Onitsha-Enugu expressway, he finished that road as PTF chairman and he came back as President to come and fix that road again. So, that’s an important thing to remember that he did it before and he is the fellow doing it again.”
On the extent of damage in the four local government areas affected by flood, he said, “We have over 5000 people displaced and we already prepared some receptacles where we received the displaced people. But they need help when the water is receding because they lost their property which majorly includes their produce which they harvested before this flood crept in.
“I believe Mr. President will be able to assist us to be able to support these families that have been displaced in this manner.”
On the level of damage by flood and how much he would be looking for from the President, he said, “Well, Mr. President will give me the money and how much is it? I can’t tell you off the cuff but if they give N300 billion, I will like it.
“You know normally, when you make this kind of presentation, the President will now send NEMA to come and see for themselves what has happened. So, NEMA will work with your team and they will be able to ascertain what the volume is and from there, Mr. President will see whether they can take in all of them or part of it as the case may be. So, I believe that process will go that way.”