• Monday, July 15, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Ohanaeze urges FG, states to evacuate flood victims

Dying Igbo culture, tradition worries Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ebonyi

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has appealed to the federal and state governments in the south-east region to evacuate families in flood-ravaged areas to save lives.

The group further called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide a lasting solution to the perennial flooding of riverine communities in the south-east and other parts of Nigeria.

Okechukwu Isiguzoro, secretary-general Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, in a telephone interview, lamented that thousands of people in Ohaji-Egbema, Oguta Local Government Areas of Imo State, Ayameleum, Ogbaru, Anambra West and Anambra East Local Government Areas, have been displaced from their homes, while lives and properties worth billions of naira have been lost.

“Our on-the-spot findings have shown that thousands of people have been displaced in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta in Imo, while properties worth billions have gone under the water.

“In Anambra, the tragedy is enormous, as it has hit Ogbaru in Anambra East and Ayameleum in Anambra West, displaced thousands of people and destroyed properties worth billions of naira.

“We wish to ask, does it mean that the clips coming out from the ancient town of Anam Ukpo-Isaa with villages like Mmiata, Iyiora, Umueze, Umuewelum,Umuoba, Umuikwu, Umudora and Oroma-Etiti, now sitting under flood is not getting to both the Presidency and NEMA?.

“Is Nigeria too broke that we cannot send serious boats and even airlifting solutions to the trapped people of Ogwuikpele, Akali-Ogidi, Atani, Osamala, Umu-Uzu, Ogbakuba, Umunankwo and Ogwuaniocha all in Ogbaru LGA?

“Is it too difficult to send relief materials to them, because they are currently internally displaced people. Can’t the federal and state governments and NEMA do something for the people of Abacheke in Ohaji-Egbema?

Read also: Reps probes computation of revenue allocation to states, LGs from 2012-2021

“Can’t FG and NEMA do something about what’s happening at Oguta-Ameshi down to the Amaraocha area? Can’t they just see that communities like Osemotto, Eziorsu, Orsuobodo, Mgbele and their neighbours may not be safe now and find fast solutions? How can the government be sleeping while our people are perishing?,” Isiguzoro asked.

He observed that the tragic mass deaths on Friday, October 7, 2022 at Ossomala/Umunankwo Bridge where a boat capsized and killed many passengers could have been avoided, if professionals in emergency management were on the ground.

“What about those people that died at Osomala/Umunankwo Bridge, while sailing to Ogbakuba last week in Ogbaru when their boat capsized, who has located their families? Why all this silence when a national disaster is taking place?

He said that flood was an act of nature, but urged the federal and state governments to find a permanent settlement for these communities to stop this incessant flooding, which has become a ritual.

He called for a solution whether temporary or permanent be found for the constant occurrences, adding that people cannot continue to invest and lose their investments every three years to flood.

“We have heard from different quarters that what happened could be linked to the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. Some said it’s just excessive rainfall, but whatever it is, we’re calling on the government to look for a permanent solution and end these regular occurrences.

“Every solution is necessary now. If it requires the dredging of notable rivers in the affected areas like Orashi River, Ogbuide River (Oguta lake) Ọmambala(Anambra River), Ezu River, Itu River, Awbana River, Njaba River, River Niger and many others every time such may happen, please let it be done at least to reduce the effect”.