The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has threatened to drag the Federal Government of Nigeria to court over the floods that ravaged Bayelsa and other parts of the littoral region of the country. INC wanted to take the step because the FG failed to take certain steps to prevent the disaster, especially, the failure to build the Dasin Hausa dam that could suck in excess water.
Worse still, the Congress asked that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, should be given the boot, because of her incendiary comment that Bayelsa “is not among the top 10 states ravaged by the recent flood.”
The INC National Publicity Secretary, Ezonebi Oyakemeagbegha, told journalists: “How can she sit in the comfort of her office without a visit to any of the affected states to make such an assertion? Is that right? The glaring devastation occasioned by the flooding in Bayelsa and other Ij aw LGA of Delta State, if it could be twisted by Farouq is a further reflection of arrogance and callous disregard being accorded to issues about the Niger Delta region and its people, by the federal government.
“INC has compiled the number of deaths, destruction of property, farmlands, ancestral graves, sacred places of worship and ruined businesses across the affected Ijaw communities and a legal team will soon drag the Federal Government to court for adequate compensation of the flood victims of Ijaw extraction.
“INC has concluded that since it was a deliberate negligence and utter disregard for the lives of our citizens living in the lower Niger by the Federal Government, mere acceptance of the conventional relief materials, such as rice bags, mattresses that would not made any meaningful impact on these victims is absurd and unacceptable. INC will approach the court for compensation,” he added.
Ebilade Ekerefe, Spokesman of Ijaw youths worldwide, also joined the fray. In his words: “It is sad to note the controversy, disrespectful comments and politicization of the humanitarian disaster that swallowed over 400 communities of the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State. Over a million persons, including women and children were displaced. Farmlands, critical roads, lives, bridges and major businesses were lost.
“The IYC became more worried that despite the plea from the Bayelsa State government and Governor Douye Diri, the Federal Government, which was expected to extend a hand of fellowship, failed us.
“Instead of limiting their disgraceful failure to the delayed sending of relief? materials for emergencies and caring for the millions of the IDPs, the minister threw more oil into the fire in order to burn the state by making unguided, uninformed and provocative statements.
“While we are aware that she did not undertake any assessment trip to the troubled state of Bayelsa, the minister was quick to rate the magnitude of the flood disaster that claimed hundreds of women, men and children not strong enough compared to Jigawa State.
“But the IYC is more encouraged that Governor Diri has showed capacity during this trying times by visiting all impacted communities and empathizing and providing succour to the people.”
Also at a media briefing yesterday, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV, lamented: “Most of the traditional rulers in the state and their subjects have been displaced by the flood and are now Internally Displaced Persons, IDP.”
“We believe, and strongly so, that the misinformation we have been confronted with this season, may have directly led to the observed extremely slow, an almost shameful response by statutory agencies of the Federal Government to the plight of the over one million victims of the 2022 flood disaster in Bayelsa State.
“As the floodwaters recede, ladies and gentlemen, we are sure to experience post flood ailments if the Federal Government’s complementary mitigation efforts remain conspicuously absent, conspicuously low, or conspicuously insufficient.