Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa
The rampaging flood that has devastated most part of the country and almost the entire Bayelsa State, has taken over Otuoke, home town of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.
The palatial country home of the former President and that of his aged mother had been submerged in the flood that has taken all over the communities in the local government area.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in continuation of his assessment of the flood situation in the state was in Otuoke, hometown of the former President to assess the situation.
Speaking to journalists, after visiting some of the affected homes and communities, Governor Diri lamented the degree of destruction caused by what he described as an “attack by natural disaster” on the livelihood of Bayelsans.
He stressed that Otuoke, which is the host community of a federal university, had been submerged and most of the locals displaced, including the home of the former president.
The governor, however, urged the people not to despair even in these trying times, assuring them that the state government had put in place machinery to provide relief materials and medical assistance to victims of the flood.
He equally empathised with the former president, who he said is now also internally displaced as a result of the flood.
He said, “As we have seen in other local government areas in the state, we have come to Ogbia and parts of Southern Ijaw today. I had been to Ayama-Ijaw and Azikoro communities in Yenagoa, which is also badly hit.
“Now I am in Ogbia, precisely at the residence of the former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. You can see the degree of destruction here in Otuoke. The water current is as if there is a river here.
“This is what I have been saying. Bayelsa is under attack of natural disaster. The whole premises of our former president and the community is under attack. And this is where you also have the federal university. This situation makes the former president an IDP.
“To our citizens, particularly in Ogbia local government, I came to see things for myself in Otuoke and to bring you hope. I came to also let you know that you are not alone in these trying times that we are all going through in our state.
“We have put in place machinery that is going round the state in terms of relief materials and medicines. The Ministry of Health is fully mobilised for that and I am sure they will be here in no distant time.
“Let me also use this opportunity to empathise with my leader, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has joined me as one of the IDPs because I was one of the first victims in my community.”
Diri again solicited the help of well-meaning Bayelsans, corporate organisations and the federal government to enable the state to overcome the present unfortunate situation.
The governor, who learnt about the demise of a military personnel attached to the residence of the former president, expressed his sympathies with Dr. Jonathan, the family of the deceased and the Nigerian Army.
He also visited the former president’s mother, Madam Eunice Jonathan, in the community and assured her that the state government was with her and the people of Otuoke.
Meanwhile, the numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) keep rising by the day in some of makeshift camps provided by the state government.
Our correspondent who visited some of the camps with the State Task Force headed by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, saw over a thousand children, women and men, queuing to take breakfast.
At the Ox-Bow Lake pavilion in the state capital, over 3,000 IDPs have been registered which has stretched the facility to its limit.
There are other similar camps at the State Technical School, Igbogene and over 10 others in the state capital alone.
Briefing journalists after supervising the process the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, said the committee has decided to be feeding the IDPs daily but was worried about the growing numbers.
Gbaranbiri said the task force had identified and inspected areas ravaged by flood as well as provide succour to flood victims.
He also said the task force had been able to relocate affected persons to higher grounds and provide relief materials.