BY MOHAMMED IBRAHIM
The flag-off of distribution of relief materials to the victims of flood disaster in 2012 by His Excellency (Dr) Ramalan Yero on 21st of February 2013 at Kaduna North Local Government Chamber raised issues that need to be addressed by the Isyaku Dogo Makama-led State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
President Jonathan had pledged to share a total of N17.6 billion to all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory as direct intervention in the cases of flooding. The money was finally approved, out of which the sum of N400 million was released to Kaduna State. The money was given to State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The government of late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa constituted a committee to oversee the distribution of the relief package.
The committee has the following as members: Mr. Abokie Galadima, the then Chief of Staff as the chairman. Other members are the commissioners of works and environment, the special adviser, Christian Matters, the representatives of the Bureau for Islamic Affairs, the executive secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). Since the committee was inaugurated, nothing has been heard as the victims of the flood kept on complaining that they have neither seen nor given any relief package, an indication that something fishy could be cooking.
On 13th of January 2013, victims of the 2012 flood disaster in Kaduna State threatened to embark on a street protest for 21 days, if the state government failed to commence utilization of the N400million flood intervention fund. Despite the outcry, the committee kept mute.
· N400 million flood victim’s pie
Save for the insistence of Governor Ramalan Yero on proper and detailed account of how all the money meant for Kaduna State victims of floods was utilized, the State Emergency Management Agency could have swallowed the N400 million in its corrupt environment.
It would be recalled that the federal government released the sum of N400 million to the state as part of presidential flood relief donation. Apart from this amount, there are many philanthropic individuals and organizations that donated items, money and other valuables to the state emergency management agency for onward distribution to the victims of flood disaster in Kaduna State. Curiously, three months after the donation, nothing was heard as for the distribution of the funds to beneficiaries.
In his address of welcome on 21st of February 2012 at the flag-off of distribution of relief materials, the Executive Secretary of SEMA said the agency has spent N100m out of the N400 million received so far. According to statistics obtained from SEMA “there are 5, 694 victims of flood spread across 17 local government areas of the state.” The N100million was allegedly spent on the following items: 6, 365 bags of rice; 900 bags of beans; 15, 140 bags of maize; 9, 140 bags guinea corn; 1, 100 bags of sugar and 600 bags of salt. The items were received by Chimezie Enyocha on behalf of Kaduna North victims of flood in 2012. A breakdown on the cost of the above items in market survey puts the cost of the above items at about N36million.
According to a highly placed source “On assumption of office, Governor Ramalan Yero demanded to see the progress report of the committee but they could not produce any. It is the body language of the governor that compelled SEMA and the committee to hurriedly arrange for the flag of the distribution of the items as witnessed on 21st February 2013.”
Another controversy hanging on the neck of the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency is his alleged involvement in the last crises in the state. The Execuitve Seceratry of SEMA, Isiyaku Dogo Makama, was arrested by Kaduna State police command last year for allegedly aiding some hoodlums during the last crises in the state. As weighty as this allegations were, the state government looked the other way and retained such controversial personality to head an important organ of government in fragile state like Kaduna. Whether the allegations are true or not, his arrest and interrogation alone by the state police command could have warranted his outright dismissal.
· Crippling of State Fire Service
Kaduna State Fire Service is a department under the State Emergency Management Agency headed by a Director. Under the current Executive Secretary of SEMA, Makama the state fire service is grappling with epileptic services with the morale of fire servicemen at its lowest ebb. According to an insider who craves anonymity “the appointment of Nuhu Dogo Makama is the worst thing that ever happened to the state fire service. As I am talking to you, almost all our operational vehicles are in bad shape.
“There are three operational stations: one in Kafanchan, one in Zaria while the Headquarter is located at Tudun Nupawa in Kaduna metropolis. The station in Kaduna metropolis covers areas from Kaduna –Abuja toll gate up to Jaji. It is only two vehicles that are in good condition at the moment. Sometimes there is no petrol in the vehicle because it is only 25litre of fuel that is approved for the two vehicles. He has refused to release funds meant for its maintenance thereby putting the lives and properties of potential fire victims in the state on the line. We the fire servicemen have been complaining of provision for proper health service especially as our lives are always in danger whenever we are on duty. As I am talking to you, there is no arrangement by SEMA with either NHIS or private clinics to render health services to fire service men in the state. How can you put your life in danger in such circumstances?”
The sources went further “15 fire servicemen are made to sleep on 4 mattresses whenever they are on night duty because SEMA has refused to release about 100 mattresses kept in its store for use. The worst of it all is that some of our men are being deployed to serve as security guards in SEMA office. It is very pathetic”
With such records of poor performance and corrupt tendencies, it is surprising that the state government is still keeping Isiyaku Dogo Makama as the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency.