Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 11 March 2017 | 1,645 times
The Anambra State Government has handed over N500,000 cheque to each of the 17 persons whose houses and apartments were destroyed during the February 15 fire disaster in the commercial city of Onitsha.
The ceremony, which took place at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, was put in place following a preliminary report of an assessment committee set up by Governor Willie Obiano on the day preceding the ugly incident to look into the immediate and remote causes of the inferno and also find out the actual victims and proffer precautionary measures to avoid a recurrence of such disaster in future.
The committee in its report identified a total of 73 persons who were affected, including house owners, tenants, lawyers, business operators and petty traders. Of this number, 17 were selected for the first phase of the intervention.
Speaking after the presentation of the checks to the victims, Governor Willie Obiano explained that the sum is for one year’s house rent of the displaced victims and an additional N200,000 to assist them procure basic things that they may require to resettle.
He identified some measures taken by his administration towards combating fire challenges in future to include procurement of three state-of-the-art fire fighting trucks of 10,000-litre water capacity each and compartment that has 750 litres of foam and 75 kg of powder as well as training of 200 medical personnel to assist with first aid treatment and evacuation in emergency situations.
According to him, the trucks will be positioned in Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi to serve the three senatorial districts of the state.
Obiano noted that processes have also commenced for the recruitment of 100 youths to make up for the shortfall in manpower of the State Fire Service.
While commiserating with the victims over their loss, Obiano harped on the need for the citizenry to be safety conscious and embrace insurance covers so as to cushion the effects of any negative eventuality they may encounter.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Chief Paul Odenigbo, revealed that with the support of the State Government, they are working to develop strategies to improve the safety culture of the people.
Odenigbo, who is also the Chairman of the Assessment Committee on the Fire Disaster, hailed the Governor for remaining true to his promise of supporting the fire victims.
In his remarks, the Anglican Bishop of Niger West, Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe, described Obiano as a visionary governor par excellence. He advised other leaders in the country to emulate Obiano by providing governance with a human face.
In their separate remarks, some of the victims, who included Mr. Nduka Alor and Mrs. Joana Oboli, thanked Governor Obiano for coming to their rescue. They said that through the gesture, he has shown that issues that border on the people’s welfare bother him.
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