Diri urges FG to prioritize issue of food insecurity in Nigeria


The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri has called on the Federal Government to tackle the issue of food insecurity in the country with all the seriousness it deserves.

Diri made the call on Tuesday in Government House, Yenagoa, while receiving the Technical Working Group, South-South, which is a subcommittee under the Federal Government’s Committee on Prevention of Flooding in Nigeria.

Speaking through his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor said the issue of food insecurity had been worsened by the devastating flood of 2022 in Bayelsa and other affected states.

Consequently, he urged the federal government to distribute the tonnes of rice and other food items impounded by the Nigerian Customs Service as part of its short-term post-flood management measures in states badly affected by the flood.

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri

Pointing out that Bayelsa’s location at the lowest base of the river basin makes it most flood-prone, Governor Diri stressed the need to consider the peculiarities of the state for any effort at flood prevention to be effective and successful in the state.

According to him, the ecological problems of flooding and erosion which bedevil several communities across the state were inseparable.

He, therefore, called on all relevant Federal Government agencies to recalibrate the design of their programmes to tackle the twin problems effectively.

The Bayelsa Chief Executive, however, assured the team of his administration’s preparedness to work closely with the federal government on measures to tackle the challenge posed by the yearly flooding challenge in the state.

“First of all, I want to commend you for putting these issues in the right perspective. The two rivers (Niger and Benue) all empty their waters through the river basin, which is Bayelsa, into the ocean.

“Bayelsa is one of the most impacted states in the last flood, the waters rose by about 4.6 metres high.

“The last flood itself was a disaster, but with due respect to the Federal Government, its management of the flood portended doom for the entire country.

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“We are supposed to do residual farming, but because of the flood, we have not been able to do that. We are going to have food insecurity in the country. And we all know that food insecurity is more dangerous than conventional insecurity.

“There are lots grains that have been seized by the Customs Service, which have been declared nobody’s property. What stops the Federal Government from distributing those grains to the states badly affected by the flood?” he queried.

Speaking earlier, the Team Lead of the Technical Working Group, South-South, Mr Clement Nze, said they were in Bayelsa to look at locations badly impacted by the flood and the various measures taken by the State Government to control flooding.

Engineer Nze, who is also the Director General of the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA), expressed hope that the current short, mid and long-term plans of the Federal Government on flooding were aimed at tackling the problem holistically in the country.

The Team Lead, who said the group had visited some areas and road infrastructure in the state that were impacted by the recent flood, including the Yenagoa-Amassoma Road, commended the state government’s post-flood management efforts.

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