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January 19, 2000


The Life Lift International, a humanitarian outreach of the New Covenant Gospel Church with headquarters in Benin City, paid a visit to Odi, Bayelsa State, yesterday, January 18, 2000.

Rev (Dr.) Felix Omobude, the President of Life Lift International and General Superintendent of the New Covenant Gospel Church, led the delegation that paid this historic visit. In the delegation was a team of pastors as well as other church members. Among those present were: Rev Augustine Oyem (National Pastor), Rev Joshua Omoregie (Church Secretary), Rev Samson Akiri, Rev Matthew Ajayi (pastor of the Port Harcourt branch of the church) and Pastor Sonny Omorose (the church PRO). The church.s Women Leader, Deaconess L. Olaye was also on the team.

The Odi people received the team at the Odi Health Centre grounds. Leading the Odi people was the spokesman of the community, Dr Sam Ebiye. Dr Ebiye is also the dean of Education at the College of Education Port Harcourt.

While receiving the delegation, Dr Ebiye gave a touching narration of the events that has transpired in the community over the past few months. He regretted that the entire community was destroyed and that they agrarian people were at sea as to how to pick back pieces of their lives. He stressed that his people were a peace-loving people and that they expect the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people in rebuilding the community saying that an apology from the president did not go far enough.

While thanking Rev Omobude for making this trip, he said that the gesture "by the church will not be forgotten when the history of Odi shall be written".

An acappella group from the New Covenant Gospel Church sang immediately after the welcome address by Dr Ebiye. This had a soothing effect after the highly charged emotive address.

Rev Felix Omobude sued for peace in the entire Niger delta and elsewhere in the nation. He said, "violence is an ill wind that blows no one any good". He regretted that the entire community was sacked and so grossly destroyed simply because of the actions of a few miscreants. Rev Omobude noted that media reports were not sufficient for someone to fully appreciate the enormity of the destruction at Odi.

Rev Omobude prayed that God would envelope the Niger Delta with peace so that the centuries old wrongs suffered by the entire people would be addressed squarely and not swept under the carpet. "Violence should not be used an excuse for inaction and neglect," he counselled. He further prayed that Nigeria should be a country where peace, fairness and equity reign.

Items donated by the Life Lift International included:

The items were valued at over N200, 000.00

After the presentation, Dr Ebiye led the delegation on tour of the devastated community. Rev Omobude promised that the church will keep in contact with the Odi people and prayed for a rapid healing of the wounds suffered.

Reported by Deacon Nnimmo Bassey (LIFE LIFT CO-ORDINATOR)