Flood: The Cry Of A Governor, ‘’Everywhere In Bayelsa State Is Affected, Now One Big IDPs Camp’’

 By Stephen Ubanna

 With barely two years after Senator Douye Diri, and the people of Bayelsa state rolled out the drums to celebrate its 25 Anniversary of the creation by late General, Sani Abacha, described as a hero, to the Ijaw nation, despite not meting its Constitutional requirements, the story appears to be different today.

  Recall that Senator Diri , had  made Nigerians to understand  that the late Army General and former Nigerian Head of state,  had signed the creation of  ‘’the state by the stroke of the pen’’. The eight Local government Areas:Ekeremor, Kolokuma/Opukuma, Nembe, Ogbia, Sagbama, Brass, Southern Ijaw and Yenagoa, which turned out to be the state Capital, carved out from the old River state to form the state appears to have become the Headquarters of flood affected states in Nigeria.

Given reasons why everywhere in the state is flooded, an aggrieved governor Diri, had said that ‘’it is below the sea level’’, noting that even the Government House, in Yenagoa, the state Capital, is also being threatened.

Hajia Farouq: Minister Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management And Social Development

But Hajia Sadiya Umr Farouq, minister of Humanitaria Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, may have given the governor a cause for concern when she stated on Sunday, October 16, 2022, that the flood may be worse in  Bayelsa, Delta, Cross river, Rivers and Delta states, in the coming eeks, urging the governors of the affected states to heed ‘’to heed to  the warnings of the  Nigerian Metrological Agency, NMA’’ to contain the flood’’ .The minister had said that the flooding in Bayelsa and the other affected states had gotten out of control  in the recent time because the governors failed to heed to the warnings of the NMA.     

For now the worry of the Bayelsa state governor is that ‘’the magnitude of the 2022 flood had surpassed that of 2012, described then as ‘’unprecedented since the creation of the state in 1996’’.

. Recall that Hajia Farouq, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, had said that between, mid-September, 2022, and now, over ‘’603 lives have been lost to the flood while a total of 1,302,589, persons, were displaced in the over 20 states, affected by the natural disaster, of the 36 states of the Federation’’, particular, Bayelsa, Anambra, Delta and Cross river states.

The minister stated further that on the whole, 2,407 other persons were injured and a total of 82,053 houses were completely damaged, 108,392, hecatares of farmlands, partial destroyed, and another 333,327, completely destroyed, including roads, and other critical infrastructure in the states ’’due to the flooding’’   

River Bayelsa

 In Bayelsa state alone, Gov. Diri, had said that 300 Communities , that cut across the entire eight   Local government   Areas of the state  have been submerged  by the flood  as thousands  of people have been displaced  while some of the natives  were said to have resorted  to the use of local boats  ‘’to navigate their way  in and out of  the impacted communities  as businesses have been shut,  property lost and farmlands destroyed’’.

 He noted that critical infrastructure in the state like Hospitals, roads, bridges,  and schools, including tertiary institutions like  the state owned Niger Delta University, Amasoma; the University of Africa, Toru-Orua and the Niger Delta, University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri,  ,  have also been submerged  by the flood.  The fallout was that the Patents at theTeaching Hospital were transferred to Koki Diete Memorial Hospital in Yenagoa, the state Capital.

Appearing on Channels Television, on Sunday, October 23, 2022, Senator Diri , who could not hide his feelings had painted a pitiable situation of the flood in the state  when he disclosed that ‘’the government  has ‘’converted   every primary and secondary school s that are not flooded  into Internally Displaced Persons, IDP ,Camps’’. 

A Typical Community Flooded In Bayelsa State

The governor has described the situation in the state as‘’one big IDP, Camp’’, stressing that the Centers have been opened mostly in Yenagoa, which appear, a bit safer, ‘’to house the IDPs and begin to attend to their needs’’. He had said that ‘’every Community in the state is an IDP, Camp’’, stressing that the state government  through its Task Force  and the state Emergency Management Agency,  has begun  contributing  items  to cushion  the effect of the flooding  o the people’’.

He may have shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that even the state event center, called ‘’ the Oxbow Lake, has been opened for the use of the IDPs,  noting that at the moment  there are  no less than  2,000 IDPs, in that center alone.

A Typical Community IDPs Camp in Bayelsa State

While the state government is currently concerned about distributing foodstuffs to every Local Government Area in the state and every Community as no Community was spared by the flood, it is worried about the outbreak of diseases among the IDPs.

The United Nation’s Children  Fund, UNICEF, an agency of the UN,  had said that ‘’over  one and half million Nigerian Children are at the ‘’risk of contracting water borne  disease, drowning and malnutrition  as the flood had hit 34 of the 36 states in the country’’.  

This may have informed why the Bayelsa state ministry of Health, at the instance of the governor, has commenced the distribution of drugs to the people in IDPs Camps while efforts are being made to contain the flood.

Taking care of the IDPs, in their various centers in the state, may be eaten deep into the limited resources of the state that the governor may have taken advantage of Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, for the 2023, general elections, visit to the state to sympathise with victims of the flood disaster to   call on the Federal government ‘’to be proactive in mitigating the effects of the devastating flood across the country’’.

He was said to have also asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare a state of emergency’’, which Suleiman Adamu, an Engineer and minister of Water Resources had said is not necessary as ‘’the government is on top of the situation’’.

Obi, the LP, Flag bearer for the 2023, general elections, may have won the heart of Olabode George, a Chieftain of the Opposition People’s Democractic Party, PDP, for calling on Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the  ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, touch bearer and his Counterpart in the PDP,  Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice Presidnt, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Aministration, and the other Political parties , Presidential Candidates, to suspend Campaigns for one or two days in solidarity with the flood victims, in states of the Federation.

George, a one-time National Vice Chairman of the PDP, south west, geopolitical region, had told those that cares to listen: I completely agree with the former Anambra state  governor   that  suspending  Campaigns  by the 18 political parties Presidential Candidates for one or two days  and seeing how much  you can contribute  physically, financially, and morally  , would further strengthen  the belief of the people  that  we have good managers who will run this country for them in the next four years.’’ It makes a lot of sense’’, he had said.

He insists that ‘’campaigning while  the floods have not subsided as its impact are still be felt in all nooks and crannies of the country does not make an sense’’. He has asked Atiku, the PDP, Flag bearer for the 2023, general election, particular, to take a cue from Obi, the LP, Candidate, and suspend Campaigns for at least one or two days in solidarity with the flood victims, across the country.

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