John ODHE, Yenagoa
This year’s flood victims are still counting their losses in Bayelsa state as suspected hoodlums have resorted to looting of homes abandoned by the victims who were taking refuge in different parts of the state.
Investigations show that some unidentified bandits have been on the prowl, breaking into people’s houses and stealing property that were put above the water levels by victims before they were displaced by the ravaging flood, which is now slowly receding.
TNN gathered that the looters have been on the looting spree mostly at nights and in rare occasions during the day, especially in solitary confinements.
Last Saturday, the state government officially closed the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state and asked the flood victims to return to their respective homes after about twenty-eight days in the camps were government took care of their feedings.
However, when our correspondent went into town to get the impulse of some of the returnees, the victims lamented the loss of their properties to suspected miscreants while they were still in the refugee camps.
A victim, Mr. Tari Ebaba, told our correspondent that his house located at Akenfa-Epie in the state capital had been burgled by unknown thieves who allegedly broke into his house and made away with his refrigerator, generating set and plasma television.
He said “I returned this afternoon from the Oxbow Lake IDP camp only to realize that thieves have broken into my apartment and stolen all my properties, including my generator, fridge and my flat screen television.
“Where do I have the money to replace all these things? This is another Tragedy that has befallen me and my family. As were departing from the camp, it was only N2,000 that was given to each of us; is that what l will use to buy my stolen properties?
Another victim identified simply as Tariebi Onyibrakemi told TNN that the hoodlums broke the wall of his house and gained entrance to his parlour and took his television, DVD player and two remote control gadgets.
“This is like adding salt to injury. The flood came into my house so sudden that I could not rescue many things, including my chairs and clothes. Now, these bad boys have come to do their worst. Where do I start from?
During a brief departure ceremony organized for the IDPs by the statement government, the camp commandant, Mrs. Koku-Obiyai Ebiuwou wished the departing IDPs well as they returned to their homes.
She thanked the Bayelsa state government and the state governor, Senator Douye Diri, for being by the flood victims and providing succour for them during their trying moments.
Ebiuwou, who is the current Chief Whip of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, pointed out that the state government was set to constitute a post flood management committee to take care of the aftermath effects of the disaster on the victims.
The ceremony featured a brief sermon delivered by the state vice chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Rev. Dr. Abili Samuel Abili, intercessory prayers for the state as well as praise and worship session.