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Flood: Bayelsa monarchs counts losses, decries FG’s neglect

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Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa Traditional Rulers have counted the damages and dire consequences the devastating 2022 flood has caused the state, which amounting to multiples of billions of naira including federal and state infrastructures and personal properties, farmlands and other valuables.

The monarchs said the State needs urgent reconstruction of the East-West road that has been badly damaged by the flood which isolates the State from other parts of the country.

The monarchs said the prices of the few goods that survived the deluge in the State have skyrocketed worsening the precarious plight of Bayelsans who are Nigerian citizens.

The monarchs spoke in a Press Connference through the State Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada IV in Yenagoa, slammed the Federal Government agencies for not rendering supporting hand to the devastating ubiquitous flood that has ravaged Bayelsa in amielorating the people.

He noted that the State has lost countless numbers of people to the flood that cannot be equated with any amount of money adding that the state is very to experiencing post flood ailments if the Federal Government’s complementary mitigation efforts remain conspicuously absent, conspicuously low, or conspicuously insufficient.

He said the 2022 flood has opened the floodgates of ignorance on the subject of the misery floodwaters could unleash on a people who live on the flat arcuate lowlands adjacent the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

The Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom said the misinformation about Bayelsa flooding has been directly led to the observed extremely slow, and almost shameful response by statutory agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the plight of the over one million victims of the 2022 flood disaster in Bayelsa State.

He added that Bayelsa State is the most flood hit state that ever occured in Nigeria, saying that it has become absolutely necessary for the Royal Fathers of the State to speak out loud, so as to straighten the crooked records, and above all, jolt all concerned to do the work for which they are paid.

The Council, therefore condemned in strong terms the complete absence of agents of statutory Federal Government Agencies and Ministries saddled with the job of rendering assistance in our domains at times such as these.

The Council commended the Prosperity Government of Senator Douye Diri, state and national assembly legislators and other public spirited individuals have took time to tour round the State to access the devastating effect of the flood and rendered support in the nooks and crannies of the state.

The Council called on Federal Government, Local and International Organizations to mitigate the effect of the flood experienced by 80% of Bayelsans if as the flood receding evaporately adding that reconstruction of damaged infrastructures needs Federal Government, other spirited Organization’s intervention to reconnect the state to the rest of the country.

The statement reads in part: “Today, I need not remind anyone that we well know that the oil and gas resources used to lubricate the wheels of governance in Nigeria come from the bowels of the land mass on which we stand. I mean from the bowels of the Niger Delta where Bayelsa State is located. We also need not reiterate that our kingdoms and clans, our flood ravaged kingdoms and clans, constitute crude oil blocs owned by persons and business concerns which regrettably, we do not own. Even though the gas flares are still burning-hot in our kingdoms despite the overwhelming floodwaters, today’s press conference would border on a subject that may not seem connected to oil and gas beyond the oil and gas monies used for governance.

“In the recent meeting of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council (BYS TRC) we took turns in expressing the extreme ordeals we had to endure together with our subjects for over a month. We did not mince words in condemning the complete absence of agents of statutory Federal Government Agencies and Ministries saddled with the job of rendering assistance in our domains at times such as these. Rather we were seeing oil workers in their coveralls safe in their shuttles, going about their greasy, oily business, all over our flood ravaged State.

“Pitiably there is no evidence yet about any intervention from the oil industry to the flood ravaged people of Bayelsa State also. Could it be that they also wished us all dead? Well, being natural swimmers, though distressed and displaced like never before, most us are still alive.

“While the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has not furnished the traditional rulers of Bayelsa State with the actual monetary value of a human life in this country of ours, suffice it to say that numerous lives of future leaders have already been lost, and many may still be lost in our Kingdoms as a consequence of the flood if the Federal Government does not quickly lend a hand to support the efforts of the Bayelsa State government in ameliorating the citizen’s plight.

“While many persons were washed away outrightly by the ubiquitous fast flowing floodwaters with their corpses gone forever into the Atlantic Ocean and so never to be found, and never would be found, others, especially unsuspecting toddlers drowned right in their own flooded bedrooms.

“Major Federal Government and State infrastructure in and around the State, such as roads, electricity, bridges, have been badly damaged isolating Bayelsa State from the rest of Nigeria.

“Private properties such as houses, cars, farms and businesses worth multiples of billions of Naira have been destroyed and their owners displaced by this deluge of unprecedented monumental proportions.

“Since all the farms in Bayelsa State; crops and animals alike, have been completely destroyed, and the road accesses leading to the state also destroyed, thus isolating the state completely from the rest of the country for weeks and still counting, prices of the few goods that survived the deluge in the State have skyrocketed worsening the precarious plight of Bayelsans who are Nigerian citizens.

“Experts say it would cost multiples of billions of Naira to reconstruct the portions of the East West Road, a Federal Government Road, that were destroyed by the flood. And until that is properly done the State would remain cut-off from the rest of the country, and goods and services would be procured only at extremely high prices as they currently being procured at extremely high prices when found.

“Yes, water may be drunk by the rich and poor alike, water may percolate, evaporate and fall as rain in Abuja, Adamawa, Kaduna, Taraba or elsewhere in the States on the higher lands of Nigeria, but as long as it is within the Niger and Benue River systems, then its ultimate destiny is to find the ultimate low water level at the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger Delta, that means through Bayelsa State, the main gateway.

“We wish to call on Local and International humanitarian Organizations, and philanthropists to come and lend a helping hand to the State Government in this battle for survival of the flood ravaged people of Bayelsa State”, it stated.

The Council thanked the Prosperity Government for its sustained support to the people of the State and groups who have visited the state to empathize with the government and people, made generous donations in cash and kind, or made pledges which have reassured us that we are not alone.

Also speaking, the pioneer chairman Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council and Ibenanaowei of Bomo Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King (DR) W.S.J Igbugburu X CON (JP), has described the purported statement by the Humanitarian Minister, Ms Sadiya Farouk Abubakar of Bayelsa not among the ten flooded state as untrue and misleading, adding that it is a hate speech.

He noted that his palace and Bomo Kingdom has been submerged which render the people homeless, while calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to her speech and call her to order.

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