GbaramatuVoice condemns Delta State Government’s callous description of 21 Deltans killed by the flood as “not many”
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
The GbaramatuVoice Newspaper views as inhuman, thoughtless, callous and frowns at the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Patrick Ukah’s practical demonstration of flagrant disregard for human life by his latest description of twenty one (21) deaths that occurred during the flood that swept through the state as “not many’’.
While giving an update on the flood situation in the state, Ukah said: We thank God that we didn’t have so many deaths. 10 died in Patani while they were trying to travel to Bayelsa, six in Bomadi, four in Isoko and one in Ugbolu while chasing Antelope. A total of 22 babies were delivered across the 11 camps in the state. We have about 21,000 in eight IDP camps, and 15, 000 in four camps set up by DESOPADEC (Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission). We have not received any money from FG but we received relief materials from NEMA. On the amount the state government released so far for the management of flood victims, SSG said the committee is yet to conclude their report’.
From the above comment credited to Ukah, the question may be asked: Does Patrick Ukah truly understand the meaning of human life? How many Deltans is Patrick Ukah expecting to die before he will believe that a disaster has occurred; 1,000 or 10,000? Is Patrick Ukah and of course the state government unaware that a life is as important as a thousand lives? What is Patrick Ukah trying to achieve with his unnecessary emphasis about what the victims were doing before they died – such as ‘traveling to Bayelsa or chasing antelope’. Had it been one or two of the victims were related to Patrick Ukah, would he have described the number as “not many”?
On Patrick Ukah’s claim about 21,000 in eight IDPs camps, and 15,000 in four camps set up by DESOPADEC (Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission), did he at any point as the secretary to the state government, make any effort to visit the flood affected areas in order to ascertain the degree of damage done by the devastating flood? Where are the 22 babies delivered across the 11 camps in the state? Who is taking care of them; the state government or the parents? What step is the state government taking to ensure that these babies and their parents are well protected and in good health?
On Ukah’s claim that the state did not receive any money from FG but we received relief materials from NEMA, the newspaper is tempted to ask: What is the difference? Why is the state government in the habit of always expecting every transaction with the Federal Government to be monetized?
While the state is busy describing 21 deaths as ‘small’ and expecting financial aid from the Federal Government, GbaramatuVoice is capped with documented account of thousands of families ravaged by the flood and currently suffering in Patani, Bomadi and Burutu Local Government Areas of the state, among others.
The newspaper therefore, calls on Patrick Ukah to apologize for the above inhuman and mindless disregard for human life or resigns his position as the Secretary to the State Government as he has failed to demonstrate empathy – a necessary ingredient needed in public office.
GbaramatuVoice also advises the Governor Okowa led State Government to be firm and resolute in tackling the current challenge created by the flood. The state in the Newspaper’s view is yet to get the true number of the affected/displaced. Many are still trapped in their various communities with no help coming from the state or local governments in the state.
The Newspaper is particularly not happy about this visible failure and betrayal by the state government and its agencies/commissions.
Most importantly, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa led administration in the state must not fail to remember that the flood victims enjoy right to housing as enshrined in the second chapter of the Nigerian’s 1999 constitution (as amended). He should therefore resettle and adequately compensate the flood victims.
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