First Republic Federal Information Commissioner and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark says the government must act promptly as flooding in the Niger Delta has led to looming disaster and humanitarian crises.
He queried why the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, whose mandate was to ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response, has neither been to the Niger Delta nor sent any relief materials to them but donated food items to vulnerable and displaced persons as a result of banditry in Sokoto State.
In a statement on Sunday, the Ijaw leader said despite the situation, the “federal government seems to be nonchalant over the plight of the citizens in the Niger Delta”.
“For instance, in Bayelsa State, there is a palpable case of humanitarian crisis. Most communities of the State, including majority parts of Yenagoa, the State Capital, are under water. The people of the State, who do not have where to go to, have resorted to some crude accommodation of pinning sticks inside the water, with a platform which they use as bed, made up of cellophane bags,” the statement reads.
“There is starvation in the land, no water for the people to drink, the State is cut off from all sources that supply food to her, even electricity supply, has been cut off.
“It is a scary situation, as this exposes the people to danger. The Federal Government has not done anything to reduce the plight and suffering of the people.”
Clark said the ministry of humanitarian affairs should “urgently” and speedily extend humanitarian relief efforts to states in the Niger Delta, as well as other areas affected by flood.
“In this case, it is not only foodstuff that is needed, but water, medical and other essentials are urgently needed,” the statement reads.
“In addition, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), established to handle disaster management, has not also visited the flood victims in the States of the Niger Delta.
“Commendably, the Director General of NEMA on Wednesday, 12th October, 2022, speaking at an event to mark 2022 International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction, stated that Mr. President ‘has approved 12,000 metric tons of grains for victims of flood across the country.’ Have these materials been distributed, if so, where have they been distributed to? Who received them? Or are the Governors of the Niger Delta States raising false alarm? Because, it is money gotten from the region, that is used to purchase these relief materials.
“I enjoin these Federal Government bodies to act fast and sincerely. And should ensure that if relief items are provided, they will actually reach the right people for whom it is meant. The Federal Government should please act fast. A great disaster is looming.”