By John Ndu : Anambra state government has inaugurated a 12 man Assessment Committee on the recent fire disaster in Onitsha.
The committee which was appointed on the 16th of February by the state government was charged with the responsibility to ascertain the level of damages that occurred during the fire incident where over 15 houses, cars and other properties worth millions of naira were razed.
The committee has as its Chairman, Chief Paul Odenigbo who is also the Executive Secretary of State Emmergency Management Agency (SEMA), while Mrs Chinyere Nwabachili was appointed the secretary.
Other members are; the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike, the State Commander Federal Road Safety Commission, Mr Mike Ajayi, Engr Romanus Ejikeme , C. P Ike Aduba (rtd), Barr Ike Emmanuel, Mr Abubaka Yahaya, Mr Ben Ofoma, Dr Peter Katchy , Barr C. Onyejekwe, and Mr Chineme Oguegbe
Inaugurating the committee at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano charged them to determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident and estimate the loss sustained in order to enable the state determine how to assist displaced families and those who lost their property in the inferno.
Governor Obiano said the committee members were painstakingly chosen from every sector such as health, security, environment among others to recommend immediate things the government can do to further avert such situation.
Governor Obiano regretted that the state recorded several fire incidents simultaneously in Nimo, Unizik, Nnewi and Okpuno saying that he had put every measure in place to reinforce men of the state fire Service by providing them with 3 state-of-the-art fire trucks of 10,000 capacity of water with 75kg of powder and 750 litters of foam.
The governor disclosed that the state government had finalized arrangements to train 100,000 capable youths to enable them operate the fire fighting trucks, and respond to emergency situations in good time.
Governor Obiano charged the Federal Road Safety Corps to tighten up operational modalities and arrest all vehicles that are not roadworthy and as well continue in the fight against indiscriminate parking of trucks and other vehicles.
While restating his resolve to compensate the victims, the Governor promised to pay one year rent to the displaced people to minimize their pains, urging the committee members to submit their report before 15th of March.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu represented by the Permanent Secretary in the SSG’s office, Mr Daniel Ezeanwu said the vision of the present administration was to reshape the face of the state and improve the quality of life of the people.
Mr Ezeanwu promised that his office would follow strictly the directives of the governor to ensuring a better living.
The Chairman of the committee and the Executive Secretary of SEMA, Chief Paul Odenigbo stated that the committee moved into action on the 16th of February, 2017, due to the urgency of the matter and had visited the sites of other fire disasters that took place in the state on the same day.
Mr Odenigbo said the committee had compiled a comprehensive list of houses involved, saying 17 families were affected and there would be need for urgent rehabilitation.
” We have made enquiry and found out that rent in Onitsha cost N300,000 to N 350,000 ,but we recommend the state government to pay N 500,000 each.”
Mr Odenigbo promised that the committee would deliver in line with specifications and within the time limit, adding that their report would be satisfactory to all concerned.