The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday overflew some parts of Bayelsa, to assess the flood situation in the state, describing it as a major disaster.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor, on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, said Mr Osinbajo made the statement when he, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and some Federal Government officials visited internally displaced persons camps in the state on Friday.
The vice president was accompanied by the state governor, Mr. Dickson, Senator Magnus Abe, the Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Maihaja and former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva.
Mr Osinbajo said his team was in the state for an on-the-spot-assessment of the impact of the flood in Bayelsa.
The Vice President who explained that his delegation was in the state at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed shock and pledged Federal Government’s support in the area of resettling the IDPs, who lost their homes and livelihoods.
Mr. Osinbajo said, “You are obviously going through a lot of stress but despite that, you are still able to smile.
“On our way here, we overflow some of the communities affected by the flood. We saw so many areas affected by the flood, many homes, farmlands are under water.
“We saw clear that it is major disaster indeed.
“We were able to see that there is a major disaster in Bayelsa especially in Yenagoa. We express our sincere condolences to you. Its a sad development. We are glad we were able to respond as quickly as possible.
“We will support as much as possible with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) which is working hard to ensure that we give as much succour and provision of tents, mattresses, food, mosquito nets and all that are required.
“In the next few weeks, many will be returning home where many have lost their homes, farmlands and livelihoods. We will support Bayelsa state government in the resettlement efforts which is more important.”
“In future, we want to be able to prevent this situation. It’s repeating itself in 2018 so steps need to be taken to dredge our rivers, stop dumping of solid waste into our water bodies, clear waterways and build canals, so that there will be no flooding.”
The VP, who observed that five women were delivered of babies in the IDP camps noted that the Federal Government would render the necessary assistance to them.
“Have seen about five women who have given birth. A lot of them would require a lot of care. We are committed to supporting them in whatever way we can. We are here with the NEMA DG to understand first-hand what is required,” he added
Earlier, Governor Seriake Dickson had emphasized the need for the Federal Government and donor organizations to collaborate with the state in providing long term solutions to the perennial problem.
Governor Dickson, who expressed dismay over the initial omission of Bayelsa in the list of flood affected states, urged the Federal Government to recognize the state as the most impacted state in the country as it was entirely below sea level.
“We are dealing with a flood disaster of monumental proportion. Let it be known at the centre that this is the state that is inevitably always most affected because of our peculiar terrain and topography.
“The entire state is below sea level so once there is any slight increase in water level from the rivers that are all around us, the whole of this state is submerged.”
The governor said the state had 13 IDP camps while efforts were being made to establish three others to alleviate the plight of those displaced by the flood.
Mr. Dickson, who lamented the destruction of farm lands and other sources of livelihood like fish ponds in the state, called on the Federal Government to equip NEMA to be able to render the necessary assistance to the victims.
Appreciating the SEMA and NEMA officials for their efforts in assuaging the plight of the flood victims, the governor called on public spirited individuals and organizations to partner the state government in tackling the menace.
The Vicar General of the Bomadi Diocese of the Catholic Church, who is also in charge of the St. John’s Catholic Church, Igbogene, Joseph Opelema, said the church is accommodating 528 victims and requested food items, mattresses, mosquito nets and other resources to cater for their needs.
In his remarks, the state Deputy Governor. Gboribiogha John Jonah, who also doubles as Chairman of the Board of the State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA) noted that, the state is currently taking care of flood victims in 13 IDP camps across the state.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) welcoming the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (right) shortly on his arrival to assess the impact of the flood in Bayelsa State at the Nigerian Air Force Helipad, Igbogene, Yenagoa. Photo by Lucky Francis.
Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah retd (left) in a warm handshake with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (right) on his arrival at the Nigerian Air Force Helipad, Igbogene, Yenagoa, to assess the impact of the flood in Bayelsa State, while the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (centre) looks on. Photo by Lucky Francis.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson (left) explaining something of interest to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (right) during his visit to assess the impact of the flood in the State at the Nigerian Air Force Helipad, Igbogene, Yenagoa. Photo by Lucky Francis.
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (right) explaining something of interest to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (centre) during his visit to assess the impact of the flood in Bayelsa State at the IDPs Camp, Igbogene, Yenagoa, while the former Governor of the State, Chief Timipre Sylva (left) looks on. Photo by Lucky Francis.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, accompanied by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (centre) acknowledging cheers from the crowd, shortly on the arrival of the Vice President at the IDPs Camp, Igbogene, Yenagoa, to assess the impact of the flood in Bayelsa State. Photo by Reginald Dei.
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson (2nd right) exchanging pleasantries with a cross Section of Reverend Sisters on arrival at the St. John’s Catholic Church, IDP Camp, Igbogene, Yenagoa during the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (right) to assess the impact of the flood in Bayelsa State. Photo by Reginald Dei.