Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes, at SING Foundation, are with the good people of Bayelsa and Delta states that have been ravaged by floods. It is still a shocker that communities such as Amasoma, Ekeremor, Aika and Abala-Oshimili where we carried out our work in recent months and weeks suddenly became submerged.
The response to this emergency has been a case of “too little too late” from both the states and federal government, as this disaster was predicted by the relevant agencies of government, such as Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA). It is rather disappointing that both Federal and State governments failed to put adequate measures in place to mitigate the effects of the flooding until disaster actually struck and farmlands and homes were destroyed.
While we acknowledge that the states have taken some steps to assuage the sufferings of the people, the federal government is yet to either release a statement on the matter or take discernible steps to deal with the flooding issue in the short, medium and long term. It is rather disturbing that a presidential directive to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had omitted Bayelsa completely while victims in Delta state have not received adequate provisions.
We call on the state governments to do more in providing immediate relief and assessing the level of damage with a view to providing compensation for those affected to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. We call on NEMA to move in immediately to assuage the effects on the people in the immediate short term. The Federal Government must, as a matter of urgency, put measures in place to provide relief as well as strategies to contain flooding in future. Security agencies must also move in to carry out search and rescue operations and ensure that criminal elements do not take advantage of the situation to breach the peace.
We call on international development partners of Nigeria to come to the rescue of the suffering people of the Niger Delta, at this difficult time.
Corporate bodies should also mobilize and provide relief to the affected people in the region. We urge the people to continue to display that unshakeable resilience for which the Niger Delta is known, as this phase shall pass. The rest of the nation must rally behind the good people of the Niger Delta as this is not the time for politics but a time for all Nigerians regardless of political, religious or tribal affiliations to work together to ensure that disaster preparedness becomes a norm in our planning and budgeting.