The death toll in the widespread flooding due to torrential rainfall across Jigawa State, has increased to 92.
This is as the Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru, has come under intense criticism for travelling abroad on holiday without visiting victims of the disaster.
According to the spokesperson of the police in the state, Lawan Adam, the death toll from the flood between August and September has increased to 92.
Mr Adam told reporters on Monday that most of the dead were killed by drowning, thunderstorms, and by collapsed buildings.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how thousands of structures, mostly mud houses, bridges, and roads were destroyed by the flood, forcing many communities to relocate to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camps across the state.
As the disaster rages on, the response from the state government has been tepid.
Last week, some victims of the flood in the IDP camps across the state complained that the government has turned a blind eye to their plight.
They said that they have not been provided with relief materials and health services. They also claimed that some of their women gave birth in the open without being attended to by qualified health officials.
But on 6 September, Mr Badaru announced the donation of N50 million to the victims of the flood while he hosted the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, who visited the state on a condolence visit.
The donation, however, did not assuage the anger of the flood victims, who protested and asked the state government to do more to assist them.
Their protest was echoed by the Emir of Hadejia, Adamu Abubakar-Maje, who said the people are suffering untold hardship due to the flood.
Governor goes on leave abroad
Despite their appeal for more help, the governor of the state has travelled abroad on a vacation, ‘to rest’ before the hectic electioneering campaign.
In a letter addressed to the speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the governor said he would be gone for two weeks.
“I have the pleasure to inform the honourable House that Insha Allah, I will commence two weeks’ leave commencing on Wednesday 7th September to end by Thursday 22nd September 2022.
“I am also pleased to inform you that I intend to travel overseas during the period of leave,” the governor’s letter read in parts.
Criticism of government’s indifference
After the letter was read during plenary, Musa Sule, (APC) representing Dutse at the state’s assembly, called on his colleagues to decline the governor’s request.
Mr Sule said the governor should be made to stay back home to deal with the flood disaster.
His call was, however, ignored by his colleagues at the assembly, who approved the governor’s request.
Sanusi Abdul-Aziz, a former local government chairman of Dutse, said that the governor abandoned the flood victims because he is in his final term and no longer seeking re-election.
“We believe that the governor did not go and sympathise with the flood victims because he has no empathy for the people of the area, because he cannot do that to his people in Babura local government area,” Mr Abdul-Aziz told Freedom Radio in Dutse,
“Every traveller plying the Kano Maiduguri highway do stop by and sympathise with the victims of flooding in Karnaya town, a community that is in the back door to the government house, but the governor did not deem it fit to visit and sympathise with them,” Mr Abdul-Aziz said.
“A just and fair leader will pause whatever he is doing and sympathise with the victims of disaster and support them with the state resources because the resources belong to them,” he said.
The leader, of the Green and Environmental Project Initiative, a civil organisation in Jigawa, Ahmed Illallah, said the people need the government’s assistance more than ever before. He urged the governor to suspend his holiday and return home.
Mr Illallah posted on his Facebook page that this year’s flooding is pathetic as most of the victims are in troubled conditions, and need the government’s support.
He said from Gwaram down t7o Dutse, from Ringim to Guri, Auto, Jahun and Miga, many communities need government’s attention.
“Though, we acknowledge the tireless effort of the acting governor in soothing the situation, Sir, your presence in the state in this situation is most needed, to show love and sympathize with the victims.
“Sir, with due respect, let me refresh your memory that you were warmly voted for by the Jigawa people to give the leadership that will protect their lives and properties. This is the primary mandate of your administration.
“Sir, no other official or personal assignment is more important than to be with your people at this sympathetic period,” Mr Illallah wrote.
I am aware of the challenges – Governor
When reached for comments about the governor’s alleged indifference to the plight of victims of the flood, Habibu Kila, the spokesperson to the governor, refused to respond to questions about why the governor has not visited the victims.
He, however, said the governor was commiserating with the victims.
“Governor Badaru, on behalf of the government of Jigawa State, extends his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims, injured and the affected by this natural calamity.
“The government is aware of the challenges caused as a result of the flooding and is doing everything humanly possible to alleviate their suffering as relevant agencies are on top gear to see that people are assisted.
“He also directed the State Deputy Governor, Umar Namadi, to go around the affected areas to assess and provide necessary assistance in providing food and other immediate needs and resettlement to the victims.
“The government is also doing its best to see that roads and bridges that have washed away are reclaimed for road users. It is also in contact with the federal government towards easing the natural disaster,” Mr Kila said in a statement.