The Bayelsa State government has threatened to arrest and prosecute some victims of the 2012 flood disaster in the state, if they refuse to vacate the original site of the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School, BDGS, Yenagoa, where they had occupied since after the disaster.
This was made known in a statement issued on Sunday by the state commissioner of Educational, Markson Fefegha.
The statement urged staff and students of BDGS to begin moving back to its original site in Yenagoa Local Government Area as from October 24.
Government had blamed the inability of the school to move to its original site on the presence of the flood victims whom the commissioner described as ‘illegal occupants’.
The premises is presently being occupied by the Law Faculty of the state-owned Niger Delta University, NDU, and some of the flood victims who have refused to return to their homes for fear of another disaster.
Fefegha warned the trespassers to vacate the premises or incur the wrath of the law.
“All illegal occupants of buildings in the premises of BDGS Yenagoa, are by this statement advised to vacate the premises on or before Sunday, 23rd of October, 2016,” the statement read.
“The State Ministry of Education has served enough notice and delayed the return of the school, on sympathy grounds.
“However, the government shall be compelled to invite the law enforcement agencies to effect the arrest and prosecution of all illegal occupants that will be found from Monday, 24th of October, 2016.
“The general public and especially staff and students of BDGS should please take note and comply,” the commissioner added.
However, the flood victims have severally lamented that the over N 600 million intervention funds donated to them through the State government have been allegedly embezzled by governor Seriake Dickson, thereby leaving the victims to their fate.
Reports said that Chairman of Globacom, Mike Adenuga, had also presented a cheque of N 500 million to governor Dickson in 2016 for victims of flood disaster.
But chairman of the Flood Management Committee, Francis Doukpola denied involvement in the alleged diversion of funds, saying that his committee only received a paltry sum of N10 million which included its running cost.
The Committee was supposed to be a permanent one, due to the fact that Bayelsa State, being a riverine state, was prone to incidences of flooding, but reports suggest it is no longer operational due to the fact that the governor would not release funds for its operations.
Recently, in September this year, some Bayelsa Communities were reported to be severely affected by floods while residents of Ogbia local council area were cut off.
Hundreds of victims of the 2012 flood disaster have remained refuge in the BDGS premises since 2012, refusing to vacate the school even after the flood had receeded.
Acting Public Relations Officer of the Niger Delta University, NDU, Ingezi Idon, however said that the eviction order was not applicable to the Law Faculty of the University.
“The eviction order does not affect the Faculty of Law, rather it affects illegal occupants that occupied the premises during the 2012 flood of the premises.
One of the victims taking refuge in the school premises, who pleaded anonymity said that they were compelled to remain in the school as government had not done anything to help them.
“Where do they want us to go, they diverted the flood intervention fund and now they are bent on evicting us from this place, let them go ahead but they should remember that there is God,” he said.