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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jigawa Govt Distributes Palliatives To Flood Victims From Donated Fund After SOLACEBASE Report

By: Elijah Akoji
“We have moved on, we were never expecting any gesture from anyone again, not even the government, one of our prayer points in this fasting is that Allah will not allow the flood to destroy our community again, and we will have what to eat thereafter, and it was then the government showed up with their palliative and gave us hope again, especially in this fasting period, Ali said.
Ibrahim Ali, 45, the father of 4 children and two wives, and a resident of Kasuwar Kofa community in Hadejia LGA, was among the victims whose livelihood was destroyed by the flood in 2022, troubled by the hardship caused by the unfortunate disaster, Ali could not hold back his joy when he was told hope has finally arrived and the government has begun the distribution of foodstuffs and money to victims.
“The gesture came at a time when all our hope is on God, it’s the dry season, and we are supposed to be eating from our harvest of last year,  but being that the flood did not spare any of our farmland, we have been forced to cope with hunger and hardship waiting for the little irrigation farm produce to grow so we could have something to eat.
“With so much joy in my heart, I received a bag of rice, a carton of spaghetti, sugar, and beans from the government, through the LGA, and we have been assured that we are going to be relocated to another location to help avert any of such disaster in the future, every household here got the same thing and this is the first time the government will be reaching out to use for any kind of assistance,” Ali said.
This newspaper first exposed how the Jigawa government and the Fund raising committee kept mum after receiving multi-billion naira donations from philanthropists like Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad of BUA, and Aminu Dantata to help cushion the effect of the disaster on affected victims.
The report caused ripples and condemnation, with activists, civil society groups, and concerned groups questioning the morality and describing the action of the government as against humanity.
Danjuma Tijjani, the father of nine children in Gagulmari community in Hadeja has buried two of his children since after the flood and described the gesture of the government as wrong timing.
“I can’t be ungrateful in any way, I know two of my children died because of the difficult time, we were practically surviving on Kunu, no one to help when they were sick, if they have had access to a good meal, it would have aided their recovery.
“I am already planning my exit from here to Kano where I can work in the market, carry some load for people and I will be paid and be able to feed my family, we cannot continue to remain at the mercy of the government when there is a situation and watch our children die and our farm constantly destroyed by flood, the government cannot continue to give me food, I need to quit farming and go and work in town,” Tijjani said.
Hassan Bature, one of the ward heads in Gagulmari community in Hadeja narrates the hardship faced by the people.
“Recovering from the trauma of losing all your properties including farm produced your only source of livelihood, and yet left with nothing to eat and no help, this is enough to kill anyone, but a lot of victims here are still alive until the government just showed up with some appreciating palliative,”
“We heard of the donation from well-meaning Nigerians, but our government is just reaching us with this palliative, we can’t be ungrateful, but if it had come earlier, a lot of families will not be sick today or no one would have been buried, people died out of hunger but no media to report it, it look like we are fine and doing well,” Bature said.
“In Gagulmari community alone, we recorded about 40 bags of rice and 40 cartons of spaghetti alongside sugar and other Maggi including salt distributed.”
Restored Hope in Jahun
Many of the flood victims in Jahun LGA had lost hope in the government, some have been forced out of their communities while those who stayed back are already finding their way out of the condition rebuilding their homes, and praying that the flood will not visit them this time around.
Bala Mohammed, a resident of Gululu Community in Jahun LGA was preparing for his wedding when the flood came and destroyed his newly built home where he was to bring his wife.
Muhammed did not only lose his house, but he also lost all the farm produce he was banking on to sustain his new family.
“I already planned to get married last year before the flood came and destroyed all my plans, I lost everything, thank God for the little money I had in my account, we just got married in January after rebuilding the house, this time in a small way, but ever since then, it’s been from hand to mouth.
“It will be ungrateful to say a gift is coming late, the person can decide not to even give, but I was so worried why the government waited until this time before sharing the donations with us, knowing there is hunger in the land and many homes affected by the flood also lost their farm produce,” Mohammed said.
Nuhu Sule, one of the victims and beneficiary could not hold back his joy while describing the gesture.
“We never saw this coming, no one has ever given us a bag of rice not to talk of spaghetti, this came in shortly before the fasting began, and we are grateful that the government remembered us, at least while we are planning to return back to our farms as the rains draw near, we have what to eat for the main time pending when our harvest will germinate,” Sule said.
Hajara Ibrahim is a widow with four children in Gululu community, she can barely feed her children, and she wakes up daily with prayers and hope to be able to feed her children.
“We are all the same in the community, no one will want to help you, the least they could do is when you meet them eating you can join them, and eat a little portion out of it when the government came sharing the foods items and money, it was like the gate of heaven was opened up for us.
“I never saw the help coming and I can’t say it came late, it came at the time we needed it most and all hope is lost,” Ibrahim said.
CSOs, Women Group Commend Donors
A civil society organization under the aegis of PUSH Africa berates the Jigawa government for holding donations meant for flood victims for about 5 months without providing help.
Ibrahim Tijjani, the organization’s Zonal Coordinator notes that government attitude contributes significantly to the increase in the poverty indices across communities.
“It’s good news to hear that the government is now reaching out to the victims of the flood, sadly, only an irresponsible government will hold back what is not theirs, this money is meant for victims, donated by philanthropists, not from the budget, it shouldn’t have taken this long to get to the people,” Tijjani said.
Zainab Kabir, coordinator, of the SmallHolder Women Farmers Association of Nigeria (SWOFON), expressed concern as to the hardship the disaster has caused and the delay in reaching out to victims.
“No one prays to be a victim of any negative circumstances, but when it comes, we must look to God, it is sad to hear that victims are just been reached with help, I can’t say is too late or too early, but I will call on the government to be more responsible and care more for her people,” Kabir said.
Government Won’t Respond
While this reporter could not ascertain the total number of victims, communities, and LGA the government had reached against the communities and LGA he visited, it was important to speak to the Bashir Dalhatu-led committee for helpful data, but there was no response despite trying to contact multiple sources.
Bashir Dalhatu, chairman of the committee did not respond to his messages and calls, and when the reporter contacted the secretary of the committee Ibrahim Bala the Commissioner for Information in Jigawa State, while notification showed that he read the message sent to him, he never responded.
Again, in another effort, the reporter reached out to Habib Kila, Adviser to Jigawa Governor on Media and Public Relations, while he promised to speak to the governor and revert back, the reporter waited for several days and there was no feedback as promised.


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