… urges govt to kick off interventionist programmes in state
Bayelsa State Government has urged the Federal Government to kick off its social security programmes in the state.
Governor Douye Diri made this appeal while receiving the Federal Commissioner in charge of the South at the Code of Conduct Bureau, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Attah, at the Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that none of the key Federal Government interventionist programmes, including the conditional cash transfer and school feeding schemes, had taken off in the state.
He wondered why states in the South-South, where over 60 per cent of the resources used in executing the programmes are got, had yet to benefit significantly, almost three years after their commencement.
The governor disclosed that Bayelsa had only received 1800 bags of rice from the Federal Government as palliative for the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Diri also called on the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and its partners to expedite action on the completion of the 200-bed Infectious Diseases Control Hospital in Igbogene, a suburb of Yenagoa.
He said nothing tangible had been done on the site since the laying of its foundation stone about two months ago.
The governor noted that when completed and put to use, the hospital would not only benefit Bayelsans but the entire South-South region and the country in general.
He assured the Code of Conduct Bureau team of the state government’s readiness to partner with the agency in promoting transparency and the fight against graft.
Diri said, ”For all the three thematic areas you have come to monitor concerning what the Federal Government is doing here, I want to say it’s almost zero.
“The school feeding programme and even the conditional cash transfer are yet to take off in Bayelsa State. All we hear is that they are collecting data and we are even encouraging them to go round to collect the data.
“So, we actually want you to help us talk to the Federal Government that Bayelsa and indeed all the South-South states deserve more than what they are doing for us.
“Even in the area of COVID-19 palliatives, we have not received any appreciable support. But let me acknowledge the fact that AGIP company and its partners have come to do groundbreaking for a 150 to 200-bed health facility here. But we also want to appeal that they should add more speed because already we are almost outstretched with the facilities we have in our Isolation Centre.
“We appeal that they should expedite action on the construction of that hospital so that we can make good the use of that facility, which is meant to serve the whole of the South-South region and not necessarily Bayelsa alone. We should not treat it like the East-West Road, which is being handled with some level of levity.”
The governor Diri, however, expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Niger Delta Development Board, and other well-meaning organisations and individuals, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and the immediate past governor, Chief Seriake Dickson, for their donations to cushion the effects of COVID-19 in the state.
Earlier, leader of team and Federal Commissioner, South-South, Code of Conduct Bureau, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Attah, said they were in the state to ascertain the take-off and impact of the Federal Government’s social security programmes.
Attah, who listed the programmes to include COVID-19 palliatives, conditional cash transfer and home-grown school feeding, solicited the state government’s assistance in building a befitting office accommodation for the Bureau in the state.