As the flood that engulfed most communities in Bayelsa State gradually recedes, the government has commenced steps to close down the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.
Its first port of call was the largest IDP camp located at the Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion, which was shut down on Saturday.
Others in the Igbogene area of the state capital and other locations within the state capital would be closed on Sunday.
Before sending the flood victims home, those at the Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion IDP centre first had an open-air thanksgiving.
The solemn ceremony was held ahead of the last meal that was served to the victims before they started returning to their various homes.
In his brief sermon, the vice chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state and President of the Bayelsa Baptist Conference, Dr Abili Abili, took a sermon from Isaiah 43:1-2 and Genesis 9:10-15, where he assured the IDPs that God had promised that He would not destroy the earth with flood again.
“As you are going back home, remember God has promised that he would not destroy the world with flood as it happened in the days of Noah. Remember God and turn to Him,” he admonished them.
Meanwhile, the Commandant of the Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion IDP Camp, Ebiuwou Koku-Obiyai, praised the state governor, Douye Diri, for his show of empathy, compassion and capacity in the management of this year’s flooding and victims in the state.
Koku-Obiyai, the Chief Whip of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, said over 12,000 IDPs were accommodated in the camp, stressing that the state government fed them daily for the 28 days the camping lasted without any death recorded.
She said: “There were over 12,000 (IDPs) in this camp. God Almighty stood by us day and night. We did not record any death; neither was anyone sick to the extent that the hospital couldn’t treat them.
“We must sincerely thank the governor. The governor took charge of the state. We’ve had instances in other states where flood was so much their governor had to leave the state for the citizens to manage themselves. But this is a governor (Douye Diri) that stood by us, went from community to community, and provided shelters for people to stay in. And that’s what we are thanking God for.”
Reacting to some complaints that the government may have been too hasty in shutting down the IDP camps especially when the flood has not receded completely, Koku-Obiyai stated: “Many of them (IDPs) wouldn’t like to go home because of the nature of feeding. We are all Bayelsans and we know the flood has receded in so many places. Even as we are talking, the flood is receding. So we know; we are Bayelsans”.
source: Daily Post