Monday, 26 November 2012 00:00
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Flood: Victims accuse camp officials of looting, embezzlement of funds

President Jacob Zuma" alt="President Jacob Zuma" style="margin-right: 9px; float: left;" src="/images/stories/uduaghanfloodvictims-tonynw.jpg" height="290" width="328" />Victims of recent flood incidents in Delta State have protested the alleged embezzlement of money and looting of relief materials brought to the camps by officials.

 The victims are due to evacuate the camps since the flood has receded, a development which prompted the state government to approve the sum of N3, 000 and N5,000 for victims as cost of transportation, but the victims have alleged sharp practices in the disbursement of the  monies.
They had specifically staged peaceful protest in Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local government and in Warri South and Warri South West Local Government Areas of the state to draw the attention of the state government to the development.
Similar incidents were said to have occurred at Ogbe-Ijoh camp in Warri South West LGA where protesters alleged officials in charge of the disbursement of the stipend short-changed them and allegedly smuggled relief materials and looted the camps.

In a related development, Chairman of Okrama-Oyede in Isoko North LGA, Mr Israel Uweye, also accused camp managers in the council area of sharp practices, saying the victims  were schemed out from the transport stipend approved for them by the state government.

Some of the victims who were camped at the Chief E.K Clark residence in Warri, last week wept profusely when our correspondent visited during a protest they staged over the development.

 They alleged that community leaders in charge of the payment of the transport stipend had allegedly 'cornered' the money.

 The protesters claimed that the money were given to friends and cronies by those who had the responsibility to manage the camps.

 The flood victims in the camp allegedly indicted the flood management team who they also alleged, have been diverting items and relief materials brought to the camps.
 "Ayakoromo flood management team members often drove in with their private cars and stocked their boots with relief materials"…..

 Some of the indigenes who gave their names as Demian Omgbu and Angodideke Brenda, confirmed the development, describing the act by the leaders as barbaric.
 They expressed disappointment at the attitude of the committee leaders saying that money were however given to some people on selective ground.

Addressing newsmen over the development at the weekend, Niger Delta activist, Comr. Ozobo Austin and Comr. Enaibo Asaiyei, President Committee for Rural Development, said that they were called upon to intervene by the protesters.

 The duo confirmed the alleged diversion of the funds saying that they couldn’t save the situation on the fateful day.

Ozobo said that some of the victims  were to be paid N10,000 each for adult, while children were to be paid N5,000 but only N5,000 was visibly paid to adult while children between 1-20years old were reportedly paid N3,000.

 While decrying the development, Ozobo said it was wrong to count somebody who is 18 years and above to be a child, with intent to short- pay him or her. He said, "It is unjustifiable and unacceptable as this was not a directive from the governor".
The Niger Delta activist and President of the Ijaw People Development Initiative, further asserted that the flood victims were not paid with the original lists that were sent to the governor.

In the original lists, he explained that some small communities registered up to 80–100 persons while major communities registered between 150  and 200 persons residing in the camps.

 He alleged that the camp officials later asked community chairmen to compile a fresh lists not to exceed 70 persons with intent to short pay communities affected by the flood so that the turnover will now go into their pocket.
Obviously irked by the alleged misdemeanour in the management of the camp funds, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had some time ago expressed disgust at the spate of sharp deals that appeared to have characterised the management of flood victims' camp funds in the state.

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