The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, has declared a seven-day break for civil servants following the difficulties being faced as a result of the flood disaster ravaging the state.
In a statewide broadcast on Tuesday morning, Governor Diri said the flood is a natural disaster that has affected many other States of the federation to various degrees.
He stated that nearly a million people in over 300 communities in the state have been internally displaced while some deaths have been reported.
However, the work-free week, Diri noted, does not cover workers on essential duty as they are expected to still carry out their operations.
According to the governor, the state was facing a humanitarian crisis with over one million persons displaced across Sagbama, Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma Opokuma local government areas while businesses shut, properties lost and farmlands destroyed.
“I hereby direct all public servants except those on essential duties to be given time off from work for the next one week,” the governor said.
“Let me make a special appeal to vendors, particularly of fuel, food, water and pharmaceuticals not to exploit the situation. We must be our brothers’ keepers.
“Government has also observed that at such moments of distress, some miscreants take advantage of the vulnerable population to commit crimes. Let me make it clear that we will continue to have zero tolerance for crime and criminality.”
He said critical infrastructure like hospitals, roads, bridges and schools, including the state-owned Niger Delta University in Amassoma, the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, have been severely affected.
Diri added that without exaggeration, the sheer scale of the devastation was not such that the state can handle it on its own.