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Prof. Benjamin Okaba
President, Ijaw National Congress (INC)
by Our Correspondent

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) says the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq of bias against Ijaw over her comments on flood impact in Bayelsa.

President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba in a statement issued in Yenagoa, said it took exception to her claims that Bayelsa State is not among the 10 most affected states by this year’s flood disaster while Jigawa is the most impacted in the federation.

Okaba who described Farouq’s statement as an “unscientific assessment of the flood situation,” added that it was “reckless, inhuman, disrespectful, insensitive, provocative and insulting to not only the government and people of Bayelsa State but the Ijaw nation and indeed the Niger Delta.”

He further said; “She has failed in her assignment to manage disaster,
while insisting that Bayelsa is the worst hit by the 2022 flood catastrophe in all ramifications, stressed that the flood disaster has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Bayelsa.

“The disaster devastated many lives, livelihoods, road infrastructures; submerged hospitals, schools, communities and displaced over a million persons in the state. The state was practically cut off from the rest of the country as the rampaging floodwaters gravely damaged the East-West Road sections of Okogbe-Ihuike-Ahoada in River State.

“As a result of the crushing devastation, there was acute shortage of foodstuffs, water, medicines, petroleum products and other essential goods in Bayelsa State. The prices of goods and services, therefore, increased astronomically,” he stressed.

Okaba who stated that Ms Farouq false claim has exposed the “crass incompetence, cluelessness and ineptitude she has brought to bear in the discharge of her duties,” added that she has politicized the flood disaster.

“It is on record that like her principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, Farouq sat in Abuja and did not visit Bayelsa State to personally see the extent of destruction before drawing her spurious conclusions, relying on bogus data dripping with ethnic sentiments.”

He declared that the Federal Government has shown hatred towards Bayelsa over the flood disaster with its handling of its response to the plight of the.

The statement read in part, “The INC believes that the Minister’s mindset and ethnic bias was responsible for the refusal of the Federal Government to show any concern and empathy towards Bayelsa and provide succour to ameliorate the sufferings of flood victims in the state since the natural calamity befell the state.

“We also believe that Farouq’s public utterances on Bayelsa State have exposed her hatred against Ijaw and indeed the Niger Delta people. She is hiding under the canopy of the Federal Government to play an ethnic script written for her by the northern oligarchs who, in cahoots with the central government, are only interested in the oil and gas resources of Ijaw and Niger Delta people.

“The INC demands that the Minister should withdraw her comments coated in ethnic sentiments, and apologize to peace loving people of Bayelsa State. If she fails to tender an apology, President Buhari should remove her from office to restore public confidence in his administration whose conduct has been largely characterized by nepotistic considerations.”

Culled from NAN

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