From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has tackled the Federal Government over claims that the state is not among the ten most impacted states in the country.
The Commissioner For Information, Hon Ayiba Duba in statement, ‘FG Abandons Its Responsibility in Bayelsa State’ said the statement made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq omitting Bayelsa from the list of 10 most impacted states is “disheartening but not surprising.”
According to him the slow response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the flood despite the President’s directive for the Minister to come to the aid of the state is “indeed a confirmation of our belief that the Federal Ministry and its agencies have abandoned their responsibility and are not interested in managing the disaster.”
Duba while stating that Mrs Farouq was obviously relying “on a bogus data in contradiction of the clear reality that every local government in the state is impacted by the flood in varying degrees” declared that “ the way the minister has treated our state is so unfortunate that our people are beginning to doubt that we are part of Nigeria.”
He queried the criteria she used in determining the most flooded state noting that no representative of the federal government has visited the state to assess the situation and it has “not shown the minutest of empathy since this monumental devastation hit our state”.
“We are asking, is Bayelsa State still part of Nigeria? Are we only important when it is time to exploit the resources in our land?
“If the humanitarian minister is sincere, let her tell Nigerians the relief materials brought to the state and who received them.
“The Minister and Indeed the Federal Government are not fair to our people who have undergone trauma of losing loved ones, homes and livelihood.
“In fact, the minister’s bogus data with which she came to the conclusion that Bayelsa was not even one of the ten most impacted contradict basic science, common sense, concern and kindness.
“How can a state up North, Jigawa, be worst impacted when indeed Bayelsa State has the unfortunate responsibility of receiving the flood water that ran through more than 15 states?
“The data used by the Federal ministry to arrive at the conclusion is suspect and erroneous. How was it arrived at? By sitting in an office and conjuring figures? By the reality on ground, over 300 communities were impacted by the flood and almost a million people were displaced from their homes, many of them losing their livelihood, in Bayelsa State. And no other state in the Federation is so impacted.
“If the Minister is desirous of doing a good job, she should leave her cozy office in Abuja and come to Bayelsa State to ascertain the truth, even as the flood began to recede.”
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