*Says Minister’s Worst-Hit Claim ‘Disheartening But Not Surprising’
The Bayelsa State Government has rubbished the claims by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq that “Bayelsa is not among 10 worst-hit states” by this year’s devastating floods.
In a statement issued on Thursday night by the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Ayibaina Duba, the government insisted that the Federal Government had abandoned its responsibility in the state.
Duba described the Minister’s claims as “disheartening but not surprising”, stressing that she remained in her office in Abuja and arrived at spurious conclusions without visiting Bayelsa to personally see the flood situation despite the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that Farouq by her conduct had become part of the disaster, adding that the Federal Government had not demonstrated any sympathy towards the state since it became submerged by ravaging floodwaters.
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 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?”
It continued: “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 the 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 the 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.”