Statistics on flooding: Resign now Niger Delta Reps lash out at Humanitarian Minister, Umar

Posted by News Express | 8 November 2022 | 387 times

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•Sadiya Umar Farouq


Members of the House of Representatives from Niger Delta States, mainly Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Cross River have asked the Minister of Humanitarian and Disaster Management, Hon. Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq to resign for giving wrong statistics on current flooding in Nigeria.

In a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the members which include Hon. Agbedi Yeitiemone Frederick, Hon. Steve S. Azaiki, Hon. Obua Azibapu Fred, Hon. Israel Sunny Goli, Hon. Preye Influence Oseke, Hon.Solomon Bob, Hon. Abiante Awaji-Inombek Dagomie, Hon. Kingsley Uju, Hon. Umana Aniofiok, Hon. Alex Egbuna, Hon.Dumnamene Dekor and Hon. Johnson Oguma accused the minister of playing with the victims of flooding in the coastal region of the South.

Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers, Hon. Agbedi said they were alarmed that the ministry undermined the disaster in Bayelsa and its devastating impact by placing Jigawa as number one.

Specifically, the lawmaker said the minister was wrong, saying that thousands were wounded and hundreds of the citizens died.

“Our attention has been drawn to an address by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on the 3rd of November, 2022 where she said Bayelsa State is not amongst the top 10 most affected states by the 2022 flood that is currently ravaging some states in the country.

“She is reported to have made the comments in response to the plea from elder statesman, Chief E.K. Clark, leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum imploring the Federal Government to act quickly by immediately providing relief materials to the victims of the flood in the Niger Delta State, especially in Bayelsa. The Minister’s assumption is based on the following: the number of deaths and displaced persons per state; the number of injured; the number of partially damaged houses; the number of totally damaged houses and the number of farmlands totally and partially damaged.

“Surprisingly, she put the number of persons injured in Bayelsa State at 81 and the number of deaths at 91. The Minister is wrong. Reports from the Flood Management Committee and traditional rulers indicate that, thousands are wounded and hundreds of our citizens died. Infact, even one dead person is enough for our country to show responsibility and sympathy to her people. We wish to bring to the Minister’s attention that the entire Niger Delta States of Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Imo and Cross River are highly impacted.

“The comments of the Minister are at variance with the statement of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale who declared Bayelsa a disaster zone.

“It is an undeniable fact that Bayelsa State is not only cut off from the rest of the country but 80% of the landmass at peak of the flood was submerged with over 70% of the inhabitants displaced as a result of the flood. It suffices to state, that there are glaring evidence that has shown the world where the flood is worst hit in Nigeria, testimonies from highly placed Nigerians who visited the state, of the devastating effect of the flood.

“Even the Cable News Network and Aljazeera on the 17th and 26th of October, 2022 respectively aired it. The Shell-Gbarain Ubie Gas Gathering Plant in Bayelsa State (1 billion Standard Cubic feet of gas and up to Seventy Thousand barrels of oil per day) the largest in west Africa was affected by the flood necessitating the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Plant at Bonny Island in Rivers State to declare a force majeure.

“It is therefore saddening to see a disaster been turned to the usual dirty politics of some public office holders taking advantage of every situation to subjugate some regions of the country by telling blatant falsehood. As we speak, Bayelsa State is the only state that you cannot link by road to the western flank of Nigeria through Delta State and to the eastern flank of Nigeria through Rivers State, almost the entire State has been under water with all schools, including the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Niger Delta Teaching Hospital Teaching Hospital, Federal University, Otueke, University of Africa, Toru-Orua and Federal Polytechnic Ekowe closed down. The State can only be connected through the waterways or by air. So, how does the Minister even dare to compare such a badly hit State to any other?

“We, the Niger Delta members of the House of Representatives, strongly and unequivocally condemn in strong terms, the statement credited to the Honorable Minister as insensitive, unpatriotic and unnationalistic. While we are not denying the fact that other states in the federation are also affected, the comparison and figures given by the Honorable Minister shows a glaring attempt to downplay the harsh reality on ground. We are talking of human beings, fellow Nigerians and not some aliens.

“The figures are not only an insult to the good people of Bayelsa State but to all the victims of the flood who have gone through the trauma of braving the elements by sleeping outside on dugout canoes, roof tops and flood water floors.

“The Honourable Minister instead of visiting the affected areas to get first hand information and empathize with the victims is relying on some armchair statistician from far away Abuja to paint a fake picture to Nigerians. It is unfortunate that a state like Bayelsa that contributes massively to the economy of the nation is abandoned at its time of need.

“We want to further use this medium to commend the executive governor of Bayelsa and other Niger Delta States, for displaying the much needed leadership in this trying times and to call on the federal government to act swiftly as their ambivalence, especially with the recent remark by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is not one to be desired.

“We call on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to honourably resign her appointment as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria failing which Mr. President should relieve her of her appointment immediately," he said (Vanguard)

Source: News Express

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