Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Flood Victims in Delta Get Dec. 15 Deadline to Quit 'Illegal' Camp

Photo: Leadership
Bayelsa floods

More than 300 persons displaced by flood in coastal communities such as Oko, near Asaba, in Delta, have resisted Delta Government's attempts to relocate them to flood victims' camps in Asaba.

The people, who are taking refuge at some unaffected areas at the Asaba end of the River Niger Bridge, claimed that they could not abandon some of the belongings, which they had salvaged from the flood.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the people are living in makeshift homes built with materials such as cement bags, mats, wood, and discarded roofing sheets on both sides of the bridge.

From their new abode, the people still go fishing on the fringes of River Niger with nets and canoes.

NAN also reports that the Delta State Government had made four attempts to relocate the people, through persuasion and threats of forced evacuation, all to no avail.

The displaced persons insisted that the only condition that would make them to move to the camps was if they were allowed to move with their belongings, which included beds, chairs and electronic items.

However, at the people's meeting with Dr Tony Nwaka, the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, who coordinates all the camps set up for flood victims, it was resolved that the "Bridgehead camp" should remain for the time being.

However, the government gave the people a Dec. 15 deadline, after which they would either join other flood victims in designated camps or return to their communities.

"After listening to them this time and seeing the situation, we have decided that the best thing is to allow them to remain there for some time.

"Truly, they have some of their properties which they cannot take to the camps or leave behind. The collective decision is that we will, from Sunday, be taking food and other materials to them at the Bridgehead.

"But we have also agreed that they have up till Dec. 15 to remain there, after which they will be moved to the camps if the situation has not normalised by then or else they will be compelled to return to their communities," Nwaka told NAN.

"I have told them that after Dec. 15, bulldozers will move into the place to pull the shanties down," he said, adding: "I am going now to brief the governor on the agreement I have reached with them."

Mr Samuel Obi, one of the leaders of the flood victims at the "Bridgehead camp", confirmed the outcome of the meeting, saying: "It is okay by us; we hope that by Dec. 15, we would have left here to resume living in our communities.

"We were lucky to have salvaged some of our household items; it is not possible for us to abandon them and move into the camps with our children.

"That was why we came here to build these emergency shelters and we have been sourcing our food by ourselves".

Obi added: "But now the government has listened to us, they have agreed to bring food to us and we have agreed to cooperate with them".

 - NAN

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