By Omoniyi Salaudeen, Tony John, Port Harcourt and Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Ijaw Elders Forum has described the comment made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, that Bayelsa State is not one of the 10 top states hit by flood as callous, reckless, and insensitive.

In a statement issued, yesterday, in Lagos by its General Secretary, Mr. Efiye Bribena, the group called for massive deployment of palliatives to the affected communities in the Niger Delta and other areas of the country.

It reads in part: “The statement by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, that Bayelsa State is not one of the 10 top states hit by flood without empirical data is not only careless and insensitive but also out of tune with the reality.

“We all know that the Delta Basin is where all waters flow through from the Niger and Benue rivers to get to the Atlantic Ocean.

“Not unexpectedly, when the flood came, Bayelsa was completely submerged and cut off from the world and its people without food, medical, etc. Many victims had to take refuge in makeshift camps or sleep on the highways. We do not need to give the list of the countless people, both old and young, who died under devastating circumstances.

“Sadly, instead of using her office to address the challenge at hand and alleviate the suffering of the victims, all the Minister could do was insult the sensibility of the people by comparing the magnitude of the damages occasioned by the flood disaster.

“Worst of all, no senior Federal Government official has visited the devastated areas except the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Timpre Sylva, who happens to come from Bayelsa. Are we really considered part of this country?”

“For these comprehensive failings of her office, we demand she should be fired by the president and replaced with someone who has the intellectual and emotional stability and presence of mind to do the job.”

Also expressing its anger over the minister’s claim, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide accused the minister of bias just as the senator representing Lagos Central,  Remi Tinubu visited the state and donated N50 million to the victims of the disaster. 

The IYC President, Peter Igbifa, described the minster’s statement as unbelievable, irresponsible, insensitive and provocative and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe her handling of the disaster across the country.

Igbifa observed that the minister might have relied on arm-chair statistics she generated from the comfort of her home and not on any field investigation, insisting that Farouq neither visited Bayelsa nor sent a team to assess the reality of flooding in the state.

He said: “The entire state was under water. Houses were submerged to roofing levels, all farmlands were swept away, many people died including people from the same families. All public institutions, markets, schools, worship centres were all submerged.

Meanwhile, Senator Tinubu has described the devastation and destruction caused by the flooding in the state as heartbreaking. 

Tinubu, who is also the wife of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, accompanied by Hajiya Fatima Nana Shettima, wife of the vice presidential candidate of the APC, Senator Kashim Shettima, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and his wife, Dr Mrs Alanyingi Sylva, toured Internally Displaced Persons, ( IDPs)  to sympathise with the flood victims by donating medical and food items.

Speaking at the IDP camp at the Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion in Yenagoa, Senator Tinubu emphasized that the visit was strictly on humanitarian grounds to personally empathise with Bayelsans over the devastation brought by the flood and to extend a hand of assistance.

 “We have come to offer the little help we can. Asides drugs and medical equipment, food, and wrappers and other items I am also donating the sum of 50million Naira to the state. The donation is a recapitulation for businesses as some businesses were affected by the flood’

Responding to journalists in Yenagoa, Mrs Sylva described the situation as delicate and “a time for the best of our humanity to be exhibited”.

 She hailed Bayelsans for holding forth, stating that there is some solace in the fact that help is arriving and the worst phase is behind.

The post Bayelsa flooding: Ijaw Elders, IYC chastise Humanitarian Minister  appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

Source: news