By SAMUEL ESE
YENAGOA (Sundiata Post) – Residents of Bayelsa State capital, Yenagoa are calling on the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to give detailed account of how it distributed palliatives to victims of the 2022 flood in the state.
The calls are a fallout of the looting on Sunday of expired and decayed foodstuff at a private warehouse in the Kpansia where palliatives for flood victims were stored for distribution.
Bayelsa State received huge sums of money and several tonnes of various food items from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), corporate organizations and individuals including leading political candidates of the various political parties to help cushion the effects of the flood on the people.
While Governor Douye Diri gave details of how much money his government received, it is not yet known if all the money went into ameliorating the plight of flood victims who sometimes raised alarm for poor welfare.
A protest march was carried out by some groups of flood victims who expressed anger that monies promised them for support by some figures in government never got to them.
On the looting incident on Sunday, BYSEMA, in a press statement by the Director-General, Walaman Sam Igrubia, said they cleaned out the warehouse in preparation for the coming flood and the food items were swept off the floor and packed for disposal.
Igrubia warned that “Importantly, these items are unfit for human consumption and a responsible, caring government like ours will not give Bayelsans such items as palliatives.”
However, his agency is facing criticism for failing to distribute the items when they were in good condition despite the acute hunger unleashed on residents as a result of the 2022 flood.
Boma (not his real name) told Sundiata Post on Monday, “I believe there were people who really needed these food items when they were good. Why didn’t government distribute them then?. What was the need of keeping them to decay?”
A woman, Patience (not her real name) was not so courteous, swearing, “Thunder will fire all these politicians. These ones are for throwaway. When people were looking for food to eat last year …”
Amusa (not his real name) described the development as “Very unfortunate. People dey hungry, you take their money buy foodstuffs, yet you no give them until e spoil, you come dey throw am away. Do we have conscience at all in this society?”
Another resident who did want to be identified said, “It would not have taken anything away from the government to have distributed that stuff before it got spoilt. Man’s wickedness.”
Jimmy (not his real name) took a swipe at the government, saying “Maybe they wanted to use it for campaign, I guess. Just imagine printing faces on palliatives. They wanted people eating the items to see their faces.”