Chief Barr Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Governorship Standard Bearer for Accord, Rivers State, visited the Internally Displaced Peoples in Odual on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.

After two long hours on water, we arrived at Emelego community, Odual Central in Abua/Odual Local Government Area, the community with the IDP camp, and it was completely submerged. We ferried through the community to the only place we saw land, the community health center, now makeshift IDP camp. 

As is his nature, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs insisted on making the trip to see their conditions firsts hand and interact with them. 

Here’s what he had to say about the visit; 

Nobody in this 21st century should live in such conditions

“I spoke with some people in Odua the last time we went to visit the IDP camp in Abua, and they said the last time they had similar distress, they were abandoned at Abua, so they would rather sleep on water in Odual than to come to Abua.

So I asked if it was possible to take some relief materials to them, and if there is an IDP center, I was told there was one at the Health Center.

So yesterday we went to Odual, to the health center and it was quite unfortunate what we saw. It was total destruction, houses completely submerged in water, taken over by the river. It was not imaginable, no matter what anyone told you, you could not imagine what we saw except you went there yourself.

When we got to the health centers, we saw children, babies, very sick people and terrible living conditions. One old woman was quite sick, no medicine, nothing. We had to try to get her to a hospital, and then see if we could get some medicines. We had to try and create a makeshift place where someone could go to port Harcourt everyday, get some provisions just to give to them, perhaps even sell. We had to encourage someone to trade there, just to be able to make quick provisions that will be needed.

You will not wish anyone to live in such conditions, very unfortunate what we saw, and that brings me to the issue. It is a natural disaster you probably would say, even though this would have been averted if we had all woken up to our responsibilities. Even if we say we don’t know where to put the blame because of how it happened, but then the response has to be quick, quite swift, adequate and continuous.

Now this Health center Camp said they had been forgotten, nobody had come to them. When they took the relief materials, and they saw the mattresses, mosquito nets, cartons of Noddles, we saw their excitement. We saw mothers and children jubilating like food had come, and this makes you wonder, will people live like that? 

How do you have a society where about 90% of your population live in such conditions, because we saw devastation in the highest level. The people said politicians had not even come there to campaign or say anything to them, they’ve always been an abandoned people. 

What we took there, we were told that there were some other communities that their case was as bad, so we have made a promise to send some relief to those other communities today. Even the children we saw, I’d thought to get them some biscuits so they can begin to live again, because that’s their whole world, they haven’t experienced anything else. 

The world is so large that we have people who haven’t seen any part of the world, other than the gloom in the tents and the huts where they live, it’s quite unfortunate. And that is the work cut out for the government that wants to care for her people. we must care especially for those of us who live in the shadows of life, and these ones live beyond the shadows of life. 

I have seen pain, I have seen suffering, but I haven’t seen anything of this magnitude.

They have become so accustomed to pain, that they are taking everything in their own stride. They were excited, some people were smiling once they saw some relief. They said “this is how we have lived, and we have found a way to make it comfortable for us”. 

We saw children and their mothers, no food, nothing, total emptiness. Government should wake up please. I am sure that if any member of government went there, they will weep and apologize for allowing our people to live in such conditions. Nobody in this 21st century should live in such conditions. Very unfortunate.

But we thank God that we have seen this, and what to do is clear. But the grace of God we will go to all our communities and see how they live, so we will know exactly the things to do. We won’t be able to sleep until we bring some measure of joy. If you experienced those things and you are still able to sleep happily, then you probably don’t have a heart.“

Plans are underway to reach out to more affected communities as promised by DLB, and he is surely following through to ensure as many as can be reached get the relief they ought to get. 

Nia’Bari Fakae,

SA Media, Dumo Lulu-Briggs


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