Some leaders of non-government designated internally displaced persons camps in Bayelsa State, who were affected by the 2022 floods, have protested against the alleged neglect of their camps by the state government.
The leaders, under the auspices of Coalition of Respective Leaderships of All Aggrieved 2022 Flood-Prompted IDP Camps of Bayelsa State, claimed that the state government maltreated the camps by not sending relief items to them.
The chairman of the group, Leighe Nathaniel, stated this when he led other aggrieved members on a protest to the Yenagoaoffice of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, in the presence of some representatives of the Civil Liberties Organisation in the state.
Nathaniel, who was supported by the coalition’s Secretary, Christian Iwokurai, lamented that flood victims in the neglected camps at Agudama-Epie; St. Peters, Ovom; Edepie; Okutukutu; UPE Ovom and Akenfa, among others, did not see even a grain of rice, beans or garri from the state flood mitigation and management committee.
He said, “We observe with dismay that the State Emergency Management Committee short-circuited its daily relief response to only the Igbogene and Ox-Bow Lake IDP camps in the direction of three times daily feeding, provision of a stand-by medical team and facilities, co-ordination and ushering of external donors to the said two camps alone and thus numerous cash and kind benefits were attracted to the said camps in monopoly within the period under review, and provision of security team.”
Nathaniel also expressed fear that many of the relief materials, including money, donated by public-spirited organisations and individuals, were allegedly being hoarded by government officials charged with the responsibility of distributing them to the IDPs.
They appealed to the state governor, Douye Diri, to consider their plight and ensure that succour was also extended to them to reduce their suffering.
Sympathising with the IDPs, the Head of ERA/FoEN in Bayelsa State, Alagoa Morris, said he made efforts to ensure that two government officials he contacted were present during the protest to the office.
He said one of them told him he travelled out of town while the second excused himself, saying he would not want to be misconstrued by showing up and making public utterances.
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