•Diri hails SDP presidential candidate over N10m donation to victims
•Derivation principle should not be less than 50%, says Adebayo
•Bayelsa traditional rulers lament loss of lifetime assets, savings
Segun Samuel in Yenagoa and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has commenced the repair of the flood-ravaged sections of the East-West Road.
This was just as Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has expressed gratitude to the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Adewole Adebayo for supporting the state with a donation N10 million to cater for flood victims.
The East-West road for the emergency repairs include Ahoada in Rivers State, Mbiama in Bayelsa State and Patani in Delta State.
A statement by the Director, NNDC Corporate Affairs, Ibitoye Abosede, stated that the Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, made the disclosure yesterday, during an inspection of the restoration work at Ihuike Community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He said the intervention at Ihuike had restored the link between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
The NDDC boss, who was accompanied by other Directors of the Commission, was briefed on project by the contractor, the Manager for SETRACO, Mitchell Issa.
Audu-Ohwavborua noted that the devastation was massive, necessitating the directive by the federal government, through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, to the NDDC to move in immediately to restore the road and make it motorable.
He stated: “We were here a week ago with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari who was concerned about the devastation caused by the flood. The day we visited it was impossible for any vehicle to ply between Rivers and Bayelsa States.
“These are the kinds of things that the NDDC was created for, to intervene in critical situations. Now, there is some thoroughfare between Rivers and Bayelsa State. Hopefully in the coming days there will be thoroughfare between Bayelsa and Delta states. The Ahoada section is already motorable.”
The NDDC boss commended the project contractor on the progress of the rehabilitation work on the road, noting: “We expect more progress in the coming days in the interest of the people of the Niger Delta region that have endured a lot of pains on account of the flood,” he added.
The Project Manager of SETRACO, Issa, described the damage on the road as, “severe and huge.”
He, however, assured that the company would take all necessary measures to make the road motorable in the shortest possible time.
Diri Hails SDP Presidential Candidate Over N10m Donation to Victims
Meanwhile, Diri has expressed gratitude to the presidential candidate of the SDP for supporting the state with a donation N10 million to cater for flood victims.
Diri, who gave the commendation during a courtesy visit by the SDP candidate yesterday, called on the federal government to fund the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) adequately just as it has been funding the North-East Development Commission, to enable it effectively respond to natural disasters.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor described the effect of the flood as unimaginable, noting that the state would require a lot of resources for the recovery process in terms of physical infrastructure and human resources that have been lost to the flood.
A statement by the Deputy Governor’s media aide, Mr. Doubara Atasi, quoted the governor as saying the federal government has been very swift at funding the North-East Development Agency in response to the flood in the north to the detriment of other flood ravaged states in the Niger Delta
He expressed regret that the NDDC which ought to be an interventionist agency had become highly politicised.
Diri noted that what state has so far received from the federal agencies were some non-food items, stressing that all the relief materials airlifted by the Nigerian Air force to the state were procured by the Bayelsa government.
He also added that the people of the state were suffering from high prices of petroleum products and foodstuffs that had skyrocketed due to the damaged road infrastructure of the East-West road thereby making the state barely inaccessible.
Earlier, Adebayo said the N10 million was donated as part of intervention efforts to assuage the impact of the natural disaster that ravaged the people for the past few weeks.
While expressing sympathy with the government and people of Bayelsa over the level of devastation caused by the natural disaster, the SDP presidential candidate said he was saddened by what he saw while coming into the state.
Alluding to the recent comments by the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiyat Farouk about Bayelsa not being among the top ten most flood impacted states, Adebayo condemned what he described as stay-at-home analysts who make comments on things they have not seen.
Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Lament Loss of Forefathers’ Lifetime Savings to Floods
Even as the flood begins to recede in state, traditional rulers in Bayelsa State have lamented the loss of the lifetime saving of furniture and priceless equipment inherited from their forefathers, saying they have all been washed away by the ravaging floods in the state.
Chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom in Yenagoa local government, King Bubaraye Dakolo, while speaking with newsmen yesterday, said about 90 per cent of the traditional rulers in the state were displaced from their palace during the peak of flooding in the state.
According to him, the 2022 flood unleashed unprecedented havoc on the state and beyond, and also opened the floodgates of ignorance on the subject of the misery floodwaters,
He urged the federal government to help the state address some of the post-flood ailments as the water recedes.
He said: “If you look from my left and right, you are actually looking at people who were internally displaced, lifetime saving of furniture and priceless equipment inherited by their forefathers completely rust away by flood waters.
“Most of them have to leave their domains and relocated as IDPs in Yenagoa, 90 per cent of traditional rulers in Bayelsa State were victims of flood.
“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.”