Journalism of Courage

Just in: Presidency counters minister, says Bayelsa floods deeply saddening

...commends Bayelsa Govt. for its interventions

“We are concerned about what has happened in Bayelsa as it is with respect to the other states”

Contrary to the downplaying of the magnitude of flood disasters in Bayelsa State by the Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management Minister, the Presidency on Wednesday described the scenes of flooding from state as deeply saddening.

The government said “it is concerned about what has happened in Bayelsa as it is with respect to the other states, adding no life lost is bigger or lesser than that of the others.

The Presidency, however, saved the face of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, who had play down on the scale of flood disasters in the state by saying the problems might have overwhelmed disaster management ministry.

Persecondnews recalls that Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq had said Bayelsa was not among the 10 flood most ravaged states, putting Jigawa as the worst hit.

“The state of Bayelsa has done commendably well but they certainly can do better with increased Federal assistance, which is still being delivered batch by batch.

“The scenes of flooding from Bayelsa state are deeply saddening. The Presidency’s thoughts are with victims of, and those affected by, the floods.

“However, calls from some quarters for the resignation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development are not appropriate in this climate.

“Almost every state in Nigeria has been affected. The challenge of bringing succor to the large number of the displaced people in Bayelsa and other states, the restoration of their damaged property and farmlands washed away have clearly overwhelmed disaster management efforts so far but that  is not to say no efforts are being made.

“The huge need for everything from foodstuff to tents, blankets and mosquito nets; antimalarial and other drugs clearly indicate that more resources are needed,  not only by the disaster management agencies at the center but also by those at the State and local council levels that are structurally, the first responders.

“The Minister has been diligently working to target assistance where its most needed and plug the gaps in several state governments’ disaster responses,” Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a statement given to Persecondnews on Wednesday.

He noted that the efforts were coming ahead of the report of the committee under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum, set up by the President “to fashion out solutions and then escalate their conclusions to the Federal Government, to alleviate the plight of people currently being ravaged by flood around the country.”

“This is just as more is being expected by way of international response and how much difference can be made by support from businesses and nonprofits as the country deals with its worst flooding in decades.

“We hope that everyone, the agencies of the Federal government, the states and the local councils will increase the attention to pay to the challenges of climate change.

“Clearly, this is not a time for public reproach. It will only weaken our collective response to the tragedy, and ultimately hinder cooperation that saves lives and delivers emergency aid.

“The government at the center will continue to do more for Bayelsa and for all states so affected as more and more resources are made available to agencies dealing,” the presidency said.

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