National News

Reps to Buhari: Declare state of emergency on poor state of infrastructure in coastal communities

The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the poor state of infrastructure in the coastal communities to improve their living standards.

The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure the provision of basic/primary healthcare services in all the communities just as it asked the Ministry of Water Resources to immediately prioritize the provision of potable water in the region.

The call was sequel to a motion titled “Need for Government’s Special Intervention in Improving the Living Standards of Coastal Communities,” moved at the plenary by Hon. Kolade Victor Akinjo.

According to the lawmaker, the Nigeria coastal zone spreads to ten states which include Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Rivers, and Imo States.

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In his motion, Akinjo said that the coastal states which account for about 25% of the nation’s population are classified into four regions, from West to East namely: the Barrier Lagoon Coast, which lies between Badagry and Ajumo East in Lekki Town; the Transgressive Mud Coast lying between Ajumo and Benin River Estuary in the North-Western flank of the Niger Delta; the Niger Delta lying between Benin River in the West and Imo River in the East; and
the Strand Coast which is at the Nigerian/Cameroon border in the East and Cross River.

“Despite being surrounded by water, coastal communities in Nigeria do not have access to potable water and are left to use water polluted with saline or crude oil or even human excrement as their source of water, thereby exposing them to diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, to name a few.

“Those communities lack access to basic healthcare, despite government’s construction or establishment of Rural Healthcare Centers in different wards all over Nigeria.

“The National Health Act stipulates that Primary Healthcare Centers be constructed in each ward comprising the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet, till today, there are no basic healthcare facilities in almost all coastal communities in Nigeria, forcing the indigenes and residents of those Coastal communities to travel several kilometers in a bid to access basic health care services, making many to lose their lives in the cause of search of basic health care and in the case of pregnant women, they have to resort to traditional means of midwifery as the only means of healthcare resulting in high mortality and avoidable deaths.”

The lawmaker said that the growing state of infrastructural deficit in the coastal areas of the federation manifest with spiral effects on the poor state of the structure of both primary and secondary schools leaving the schools in an alarming state of disrepair where students and pupils of respective schools have to sit on bare floors to learn in a non-conducive academic environment were of great concern.

“The adumbration of challenges of the coastal communities mentioned above are equally extended to more worrisome situations where many of the coastal communities in Nigeria are not
connected to the national power grid, no critical effort to make them enjoy solar power grid support of the
Federal Government.

“Telecommunication connection in the coastal communities is equally very poor and that the budget of the Federal Ministries and Parastatals seems to be overtly silent on the infrastructural predicaments of the coastal communities.

“Federal Government, through various interventions, had created some Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals to take care of some challenges of the coastal areas of the federation including the Federal Ministry of the Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Agency (NDDC), but with obviously minimal outcome in the sense that some of the agencies had lost its focus and many are currently bedeviled with crisis of corruption and ineptitudes.

“There are some intervention agencies of state charged with the development of Oil Producing States in Nigeria, several of the coastal communities in Nigeria do not fall within the mandate of both the Niger Delta Development Commission and the North East Development Commission, hence the need for Federal Government’s deliberate and direct intervention in improving the standard of living and provision of the basic infrastructure of the coastal communities in Nigeria in a bid to restore the sense of belonging of the coastal communities,” he said.

Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Ministry of Education, in collaboration with State Basic Education Boards of Coastal States, to ensure establishment of standard schools in the coastal communities in order to improve access of the residents of those communities to quality education and help in equipping the already existing ones.

While also urging Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission
(NDDC) to step up infrastructural developmental efforts in the communities within their statutory
purviews, the House mandated its Committees on Niger Delta Development Commission and Niger Delta Ministry to ensure compliance with the resolutions.

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