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We are Yet to Receive Flood Victims’ Relief Materials from FG, Says Bayelsa Governor

Despite the level of deaths and devastation caused by the massive floods recorded in Bayelsa State, the Governor of the State, Senator Douye Diri, yesterday revealed that Bayelsa was yet to receive any relief items from the federal government in spite of the clarion call he made to the Buhari-led administration and other international agencies

The governor explained that although the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management said the federal government had sent relief items to 21 states affected by flooding, Bayelsa was yet to receive any of such items.

He however thanked the Nigeria Air Force on behalf of the state for assisting the relief effort by airlifting of food items that were procured by the state government.

The Governor spoke when he hosted the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who visited to sympathise with the state Government and the people over the flood situation in the state, describing it as very pathetic

Emmanuel, who led a delegation of members of his cabinet to Government House, Yenagoa yesterday, said it was his cabinet’s decision to visit Bayelsa based on the magnitude of the flood that hit the state

He applauded the relentless efforts of Diri in standing by his people in their moment of despair, describing his gesture as a mark of true leadership.

His words: “With what I saw on television, l just could not stay. I did not know the extent of the damage the flood had caused the people of the state. My people played the whole video clip in our Executive Council Chambers and we were moved to tears. We decided at the meeting to be here to sympathise with you and your people.”

Emmanuel said whatever affects Bayelsa also impacts on the people of his state since they share a common affinity in the Niger Delta.

“The destinies of millions of our people are tied to your own. You have tried to show that you care and restore hope. That show of care strengthens your people in spite of the dire situation the flood had put them.”

The Akwa Ibom governor, who presented a cheque of N100 millon to Diri, also announced that a truck-load of relief materials courtesy of his wife’s Family Empowerment Programme Foundation was on its way to support flood victims in the state.

Responding, Diri expressed gratitude to Emmanuel for his show of love and brotherhood, describing the impact of the flood as immeasurable.

He said the only means of communication was by air and through the maritime domain as the roads into the state have been cut off as well as power supply with electricity transformers submerged in water.

According to the governor, the level of destruction was unimaginable as 99 per cent of people of the state had been displaced.

“We see you not only as a friend, but also a brother. It is a trying time for us. This is the time we need leaders not politicians. And you have proved to be a true leader. The cheque of N100 million will be judiciously used and accounted for. You have done what a brother should do.”

In a related development, the Bayeelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has commiserated with the people of the state over the loss of lives and extensive destruction wrought by the recent floods in the state.

In a statement yesterday, the party sympathised with victims of the floods, which it said reached almost every part of the state and caused large-scale damage to livelihoods.

The party in the statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, said it was confident, “that the strength and resilience of our people would carry us through this difficult time.”

The party, however, gave the state government a slap on the wrist for not being pro-active on the issue.

The statement added: “We condole with the families of the victims, the injured, and, indeed, all the people of the state. It is our collective pain, and we will overcome together.

“Our party is, nonetheless, pained to note that the effect of the flood would have been drastically reduced if the Government of Bayelsa State made adequate preparations considering the early warnings from experts.

“Floods can wash away everything, but they cannot wash away the resilience of the people, and the hope in our survival, and our land. They cannot wash away the confidence in ourselves, our ability to stand together, and our faith in God to supply us strength to ride out this storm.

“We have no control over natural disasters, but we have control over our minds. We cannot fight against these natural calamities, but we can fight against the circumstances and activities that tend to aggravate them.

“Let us do the best we can in these difficult times and remain strong and positive. Let us never give up to these disastrous spells. For surely, this one, too, shall pass!”

In a related development, the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Yakubu Gobir yesterday called on the federal and the 36 state government to sit up and plan ahead in order to avert future floods disaster in the country.

Gobir made the call in Ilorin, yesterday, while speaking with journalists on the state of the nation and on the sideline of  the handing over of yet-to-be completed Juma’at Mosque to him for construction by the Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.

The Emir was represented at the event by the Chief Imam of Ilorin Sheikh Muhammed Bashir.

He said, “The root cause of the current flooding in the country is global warming.

“It is an issue that is beyond what we can control. The impact of global warming has caught up with us faster than we thought.

“I don’t think I will be too harsh on the federal government in terms of apportioning blames. Now that the trajectory is very clear, global warming is here to stay and it will continue to impact on our environment.

“It is time for government at all levels to sit up and plan ahead.”

On the mosque project, the pharmacist-turned politician, said he had resolved to complete the project.

He enjoined the well-heeled in the society especially Ilorin indigenes to contribute generously to the construction of the mosque.

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