The Bayelsa State Government has faulted the Federal Government’s claim that the state is not one of the top ten states affected by the recent flooding recorded in many parts of the country.
Humanitarian affairs and disaster management minister, Sadiya Farouk, on Thursday said Jigawa was the most affected state and that Bayelsa was not in the top ten.
She made the remark in reaction to claims by elder statesman and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, who implored the Federal Government to act to save flood victims in the Niger Delta and not abandon them.
The minister said the criteria used to arrive at the conclusion were based on the following indices: the number of deaths recorded and displaced persons per state, number of injuries, partially damaged, houses totally damaged, and farmlands partially and totally damaged.
But in a statement on Friday, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ayiba Duba accused Ms. Farouk of relying on bogus data.
Accusing the Minister of neglect, Duba said she is becoming a party to the disaster she was appointed to manage.
The statement read, “The attention of the Bayelsa State Government has been drawn to the spurious claim by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq that Bayelsa State is not one of the ten most impacted states by the 2022 flood.
“The Minister’s claim is disheartening but not surprising. The slow response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the flood despite the President’s directive for her 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.
“Indeed, the Minister is already turning into part of the disaster she was appointed to manage.
“She had earlier claimed that only four Local Government Areas of the state were impacted by the unprecedented flood.
“She 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.
“The way the minister has treated our state is so unfortunate that our people are beginning to doubt that we are part of Nigeria. She sat comfortably in Abuja to determine the most flooded!!!
“Is it not curious that since the devastation occasioned by the flood occurred a month ago, no representative of the FG has visited our state to assess the situation?
“The Federal Government has not shown the minutest of empathy since this monumental devastation hit our state.
“And 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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