The Bayelsa State Government has made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to commence its social security programmes in the state, insisting the conditional cash transfer and school feeding programs are yet to take off in the state.
Governor Douye Diri made the plea when the Federal Commissioner in charge of the South-South at the Code of Conduct Bureau, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Attah, paid him a courtesy call in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that no Bayelsan has benefited from the key Federal Government interventionist programmes running across the country since the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic crippled global economic activities.
He wondered why states in the South-South, where over 60 per cent of the resources used in executing the programmes, were yet to benefit significantly almost 3 years after their commencement.
The Governor disclosed that Bayelsa has only received 1800 bags of rice from the Federal Government as palliative measure for the hardship following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Diri also called on the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and its partners to expedite action on the completion of the 200-bed Infectious Diseases Control Hospital in Igbogene, a suburb of Yenagoa.
He expressed concern that nothing tangible seems to have been done on the site since after its foundation was laid some two months ago.
According to the Governor, the hospital when completed and put to use 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 the agency in promoting transparency and the fight against graft.
His words, ” 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.
Governor Diri, however, expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Niger Delta Development Board, and other well-meaning organizations and individuals including the former President, Dr Goodluct Jonathan and the immediate past Governor, Chief Seriake Dickson for their donations to cushion the effects of COVID-19 in the state.
Earlier, the leader of the team and Federal Commissioner, South-South, Code of Conduct Bureau, Abuja, Dr Emmanuel Attah, said they were in the state to ascertain the takeoff and impact of the Federal Government social security programmes.
Dr Attah who listed the programmes to include COVID-19 palliatives, conditional cash transfer and homegrown school feeding, solicited the state government’s assistance in building a befitting office accommodation for the Bureau in the state.
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