By Amos Okioma.
Bayelsa State Government has expressed disappointment with the poor handling of the supply of relief materials to the state by the National Emergency Management Agency.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and a member of the Flood Management and Mitigation Taskforce, Hon. Walamam Igrubia expressed her disappointment at a press briefing in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Hon. Igrubia further described as misleading a press release from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management alleging that 21 flood-affected states in the country, including Bayelsa, had received food items and other relief materials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) when such items were not supplied to Bayelsa State.
He said so far, relief materials received from NEMA as of Thursday, October 27, are non-food items such as mosquito nets, bathing soaps, and clothing materials which were received days after the Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management had gone to press that it had provided relief.
The SEMA Chairman further listed the number of relief materials received from the Federal Government including; 598 cartons of bathing soaps, 15 bags of mosquito nets, and 41 bales of Guinea brocade. Others include 4 bags of men’s wears, 5 bags of women’s wears, and 2 bags of children’s wears.
He wondered why NEMA considered non-food or medicine items as a priority in a crisis where people are in short supply of essential food items due to the flood and the resultant cutting off of the road access to the state.
Hon. Igrubia insisted that the state government is unimpressed with the way the Federal agencies are managing the humanitarian crisis in Bayelsa State.
He reiterated that no food items have been received from the National Emergency Management Agency in the state and appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action by sending food materials through the waterways or by air to avoid a looming food crisis.
The SEMA chairman however said that the state government procured and has been airlifting food and other relief materials in collaboration with the Nigerian Airforce and through the waterways.
According to the SEMA Chairman, the state government is taking charge to ensure that food is made available to all residents.
Government, he said, had been meeting with marketers to push down the price of commodities and to ensure the availability of petroleum products in the state.