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Bayelsa govt. blasts NEMA over diversion of relief materials to Rivers

Bayelsa govt. blasts NEMA over diversion of relief materials to Rivers

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Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), has expressed, in very strong terms, the state government’s displeasure with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the alleged diversion of relief materials meant for flood victims in Bayelsa State to Rivers State.

He was also hard on the agency over its refusal to release the sum of N100million due to the State out of the N1.6billion approved for flood affected States in 2017.

The deputy governor spoke in an interview after inspecting and directing the distribution of the last batch of relief materials still in the warehouse at Imiringi Road, Yenagoa, to flood affected communities.

He lamented that several efforts, including letters and personal visitations had been made to the NEMA Abuja on the issue of the N100 million but all to no avail.

He also added that with regards to the 2018 flood, NEMA brought 450 bags of rice for distribution to flood victims but to the dismay of the State government, the rice bags were later taken to Rivers State by NEMA.

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According to him NEMA officials explained that the relief materials meant for Bayelsa State were being loaded in Lagos for delivery to the State and up till now, the said items have not arrived Yenagoa.

Jonah who condemned what he referred to as  the deplorable attitude of NEMA, said clearly that Bayelsa State was not an enemy territory but an integral part of Nigeria as such, whatever that was due to the State should be released to her.

Retired Rear Admiral John Jonah further said that the State government even provided accommodation for NEMA officials posted to the State during the flood, with the hope that they would treat the State equitably.

He, therefore, appealed to NEMA to send the relief materials allocated to the State as people were still suffering even though the flood has receded.

According to him, the State government provided the bulk of relief materials for the flood victims this year, with some donations from religious organisations and a few oil companies.

He also recalled that in 2012, NEMA did very well in supporting the State government to manage the devastating flood of that year and wondered what went wrong this year as it only gave the State, negligible supplies.

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However in a swift reaction, NEMA coordinator in Bayelsa, Mr Suleiman Sakubu said NEMA would not join issues with the Bayelsa deputy governor.

He said relief materials meant for Bayelsa are intact and when it is delivered to flood victims in the state, he hopes the State government would use the same medium to announce its delivery

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