PANDEF Berates Humanitarian Minister, Sadiya Farouq, Over Flood Comment
Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has berated the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, for her recent comments on the 2022 flood situation in the country.
Farouq had during the weekly Ministerial Briefing on Thursday said Jigawa State is ranked as the most affected state in the country while Bayelsa State is not even among the ten worst affected states.
The Forum in a statement issued on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon Ken Robinson, described the Minister’s statement as a brazen assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians and an attack on logic.
According to PANDEF, the assertions by Farouq further reflected the uncouth arrogance and callous disregard being accorded to issues about the Niger Delta region and its people, by the federal government.
The Forum wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari abandoned the victims of the floods, especially in the Niger Delta?
PANDEF therefore said the crass irrationality displayed by Farouq makes her unfit for the office of Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should, therefore, resign immediately or be sacked.
The statement read in part: “The Minister who was reacting to questions raised by Elder Statesman and PANDEF National Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark over the federal government’s lackadaisical attitude towards States affected by the flood disaster, especially in the Niger Delta, and perhaps irked by his patriotic observations, decided to throw caution to the wind and descended into the gutters of absurdity. Is it not an irony that as President Buhari abandoned us to travel to South Korea without visiting the flood-ravaged communities, his departure from that country was met with a similar accident there (a stampede) in which 150 people died?
“PANDEF is worried that the Minister’s assertions could heighten the feelings of alienation and dissension in the country. Her remarks have been greeted with spontaneous reactions and widespread condemnation across the Niger Delta, particularly Bayelsa State, where the government and the people have been grappling with the massive devastation caused by the floods.PANDEF notes that the Minister had earlier claimed that only four Local Government Areas of Bayelsa state were impacted by the unprecedented flood.
“How can a state up North, like Jigawa, be worst impacted when indeed Bayelsa State has the unfortunate responsibility of receiving the flood water that ran through more than 15 states? As it has been rightly queried. As a matter of fact, in a State such as Bayelsa, almost every part was reportedly submerged and people in most communities were helplessly displaced. For a period now going on to one month, entire communities are underwater, tens of people dead, millions of people displaced and unquantifiable levels of farmlands, fish farms and properties destroyed, and schools have closed.
The statement stated further, “Given the apparent abandonment by the Federal Government and its agencies, PANDEF profoundly unduly commends the Government and people of Bayelsa State, and communities in Delta, Rivers and other States of the Niger Delta affected by the floods, for their resilience.
“The Niger Delta region continues to be the goose that lays the golden egg including providing the funds that enable the President to travel around the world and other top officials of the Federal Government in Abuja, including the Minister of the so-called ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, in running their exaggerated programmes. Yet, we are being neglected. A humongous sum of money has been, reportedly, approved to fix sections of the East-West Road that were severed by the floods, we hope that there will be value for money this time.”