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UN: Bayelsa flood a major crisis, deserves attention 

By Julius Osahon (Yenagoa) and Obinna Nwaoku (Port Harcourt)
06 November 2022   |   4:15 am
IYC Accuses Minister Of Bias, Demands Probe  As Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, yesterday, accused the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, of bias following her recent comments that Bayelsa State is not among the top 10 states impacted by flood ravaging the country, the United Nations has countered such claims,…

Flood in Bayelsa State PHOTO: JULIUS OSAHON

IYC Accuses Minister Of Bias, Demands Probe 
As Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, yesterday, accused the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, of bias following her recent comments that Bayelsa State is not among the top 10 states impacted by flood ravaging the country, the United Nations has countered such claims, describing the flood disaster in the state as a crisis of major proportion that deserves attention.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria and Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Matthias Schmale, while leading a delegation comprising officials of the global body, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on a courtesy visit to Governor Douye Diri in Government House, Yenagoa, stressed: “The first thing I will share publicly is that this is a crisis of major proportion.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted Schmale as likening the Bayelsa situation to the Pakistani floods that attracted global attention.

The UN Coordinator, who had on Friday accompanied Governor Diri on his tour of some flood-impacted communities in Southern Ijaw Local Council, said his visit was a response to the letter from the governor and called for attention to address the devastating effect of the flooding.

He also stated that the UN would advocate and mobilise resources for the recovery phase to enable victims to return to their normal lives.

Schmale stressed that it was disheartening that lives, livelihoods, and assets had been lost to the flood and called on the Federal Government and the international community to join hands to support what was left of the immediate response and recovery phases.

“What I saw yesterday reminded me of the images I saw of Pakistan a few months ago, and the world took note of that. A third of Pakistan, the size of the United Kingdom, was underwater. The images reminded me of that. We need to be very clear. This is a crisis of major proportions that deserves everyone’s attention.

He averred that Nigeria and Bayelsa were not the main cause of climate change. Therefore, there was a moral case to be made for compensation as they were both on the receiving and not the causing end.

Responding, Governor Douye Diri thanked the UN Secretary-General for sending his representative to the state at a time it needed help, and praised the UN for being the first to respond quickly to the situation in Bayelsa.

The IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, while responding to the minister’s claim described it as unbelievable, irresponsible, insensitive, and provocative, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe her handling of the disaster across the country.

Igbifa observed that the minister may have relied on armchair statistics that she generated from the comfort of her home, and not on any field investigation, insisting that she neither visited Bayelsa nor sent a team to assess the reality of the flood situation in the state.

He said Farooq by her irresponsible comment had shown that she was more of a disaster than the flood and that she was either playing ethnic bias or dancing on the graves of those, who perished in Bayelsa during the flood.

Igbifa recalled that IYC had during the severity of the flood when all hope was lost in Bayelsa, called on the Federal Government to send a presidential fleet to the state to rescue trapped victims.