By Mbah Okemsinachi, Yenagoa
In line with ills accompanying the year 2020, residents of Bayelsa State have continued groaning in pains as they recount loss of assets worth billions of naira following the perennial annual flood that hit the state and its environs amidst the ENDSARS crisis rocking the country.
The flood which submerged the entire state upland areas has caused severe damages to both public and private properties, left many homeless, with the business community plunged into huge loss. This came barely few months after the country stepped out of the scourge of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
However, expressing concern over victim’s outcry for government intervention, the director general of Core Advocate For Genuine Change and Peace Initiative (CAGCPI), Comrade. Jacob Brave Obekuma blamed the misfortune on government’s negligence of the very statutory responsibilities it owes the citizenry.
According to the ex–leader of Niger Delta agitators, who made the disclosure in the state capital Yenagoa, Bayelsa is among states that receive the highest allocation from the federation account, exclusive of the ecological fund, excess crude and revenue trickling into the state treasury from various MDGs and international donor agencies. He said what the leadership of the state requires now is the political will to develop the state infrastructure.
While he described the present flood situation as triple tragedy for residents who are grappling with recouping from the harsh impact of Covid-19 and ENDSARS protest, Jacob said at the moment what Bayelsans need is not political rhetoric as noticeable in successive administration, but a deliberate and conscious effort to address the problem of infrastructural deficit, poverty and unemployment in the state.
Mr. Jacob further called on Governor Douye Diri to take advantage of the oncoming dry season to embark on massive infrastructural projects, more essentially, construction of new roads, the proposed flyover at Tombia roundabout, as well as putting up standard drainage systems across the state to assuage future flood.
He commended Bayelsans on their peaceful comportment during the ENDSARS protest in the state, and explained that Governor Diri acted right to have emulated other states to set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to look into complaints of police brutality in the state.
He further stressed the need to tighten up security watch around the state capital, pointing out that recent clash between two rival cult groups at the Tombia axis of the capital was due to unemployment, poverty and absence of security operatives at strategic locations in the state.
“If Bayelsa youths are engaged with jobs no matter how little to earn good living, they won’t have time to indulge in cultism practice or maraud the street causing threat to the lives of innocent citizens”, he said, as he edng on Bayelsans to support Governor Diri in actions and prayers towards delivery of credible governance.
On the clamour for palliative to support stranded flood victims, he advised that it’s not too late for the federal and state governments, including donor agencies within and outside the state to intervene with relief materials.
The DG who was of the opinion that Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) should consider erection of shore protection in most coastal communities in order to reduce the enormity of future floods; said the commission’s leadership should realize the essence of the establishment of the intervention agency which is aimed at providing basic amenities and other live sustaining factors to make indigenes of rural communities in the Niger Delta region comfortable.
He however, argued that nothing is on ground to show the enormous resources Niger Delta region is contributing to the country’s wealth, alleging that the NDDC awards most contracts as political compensation to few cartels.
He said development of communities in the region will be plausible if the Commission partners community leaders to do direct contract, which according to him, will not only provide job opportunities for the idle youths, but also allow communities to monitor work progress by local contractors and to hold them responsible for any abandoned or uncompleted project.