DICKSON CONDEMNS MINISTERS OVER ASSESSMENT OF BAYELSA FLOOD

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Former Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson

…urges them  to support the  state

The Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, has condemned in strong terms the unscientific assessment of the devastating effect of the 2022 flood in Bayelsa State.

Senator Dickson, a two term Governor of the State, was reacting to recent comments attributed to the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu and his counterpart in the Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Safiya Farouk.

The Water Resources Minister, Adamu had said that the Federal Government would not declare a state of emergency in parts of the country ravaged by flooding because it has not been overwhelmed by the incident.

The minister had said that the flood had not wreaked enough devastation to warrant a declaration of emergency.

On her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social development, Safiya Farouk said on Thursday that Bayelsa is not among the most affected 10 states by the flood in the federation while Jigawa is the most affected .

However, Senator Dickson described the assessments reports attributed to the ministers as insensitive, disrespectful and offensive not only to Bayelsa or the Ijaw nation but the people of all states affected by the flood.

He noted that while communities and indeed the entire state in the case of Bayelsa are submerged with critical infrastructure and people’s sources of livelihood destroyed, the Federal Government has not organized any meaningful relief exercise for the people.

The Senator stressed that the public utterances of the two ministers are not encouraging but have continued to aggravate the pains and worries of the people.

He condemned the attempts to downplay the crushing effect of the flood on the people and urged the ministers to withdraw the statements and take the necessary steps to support the various state governments and individuals to bring succor to the embattled people.

He stressed that the curious mindset seems to explain why there has been no serious Federal Government response and intervention in the debilitating flood especially in Bayelsa.

He urged the ministers to visit Bayelsa and others, saying the situation would shock them.

He said, “The statement credited to the two ministers on their assessment reports is insensitive, disrespectful and offensive, not just to Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation but all to the people of the other states affected by the flood.

“There are communities, and in the case of Bayelsa, the entire state is submerged under water. For several weeks, People’s livelihood, communities are displaced, and the Federal Government has not been able to send any meaningful relief materials to the state and the people.

“And yet each time the ministers speak what comes out of their mouths do not encourage but seems to be adding salt to injury.

“Creating the impression that a whole state whose road networks have been cut off and the entire state submerged is not among the ten most affected by this flood is insulting and is indeed the height of insensitivity that any government official can show.

“And if that is the mindset of the President or Federal Government, May be that explains why there has been no serious Federal response and intervention.

“I condemn this statements and I urge them to withdraw them and come to the rescue not just of Bayelsa state but all the affected states.They should work and support the state governments  and the efforts of individuals.

“As someone who managed Several floods and natural disasters in my eight years service as governor of my state and who toured not just Bayelsa but accompanied the president and vice president since 2012 till now on a number of these flood disasters, I have first hand knowledge of what flood can do.

“Since 2012, I went round with the president, overflew most places and also in 2018, Vice President Osinbajo visited to asses the flood devastation and From Portharcourt, we flew through the affected areas in Rivers and parts of Delta state before he returned.

“To say that communities and Local Governments and the entire Bayelsa that is submerged is not as seriously impacted is not an honest assessment. It is an arbitrary assessment and even if there’s one death or people submerged anywhere, it should be of concern to the Federal Government in solving this problem and finding a solution rather than making a dubious assessment and so on.

“The Federal Government, the ministers and disaster management agencies should visit the affected areas and see things for themselves and they’ll be shocked at the level of devastation.

“Finally, I was told yesterday that the Federal Government had a meeting of experts to come up with a solution on this perennial flooding. That is a step in the right direction and I hope that the appropriate inclusion will be made in the appropriation bill to ensure that a lasting solution is found to minimize the effect of flooding which for us at the lower Niger is felt annually.”

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