By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Former House of Representatives member, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, has described the unfortunate boat mishap in Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra state, that
claimed the lives of several people as painful and shocking.
The tragedy took place on Friday, October 7, 2022, at Umunnankwo community. Eye witnesses said that the ill-fated boat, which had about 85 persons on board, took off from Onukwu Bridge and was heading to Nkwo market, Ogbakuba before it capsized. So far, unofficial reports indicate that between 20-30 persons are yet unaccounted for.
According to Hon. Pascal Aniegbuna, Transition Committee Chairman, Ogbaru Local Government Area, while some of the passenges were rescued, several others, unfortunately lost their lives.
Ogene, who is the Labour Party 2023 House of Representatives candidate for Ogbaru Federal Constituency, in a statement on Saturday, in Awka, said that Ogbaru is devastated and in shock over the horrendous boat accident that took the precious lives of some of its sons and daughters.
He said: “This sad news of this terrible accident is numbing and painful to me as a person and must be very devastating, especially to the immediate families of the victims. This is a collective loss for Ogbaru as a whole and we are united in sorrow.
“My condolences go to the affected families and also Ogbaru people and communities, who have in recent times found themselves in the jaws of severe flood disaster that has practically submerged all our communities and displaced thousands of people.”
Ogene had earlier made an appeal in a press statement issued on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to come to the rescue of the people of Ogbaru over the flood disaster in the area.
According to Ogene, in the earlier statement, houses, farms and other businesses in Ogbaru, have been swallowed by the horrendous flood, leaving many people in dire agony, sorrow, tears and hopelessness.
He named some of the affected communities as Ogwu Ikpele, Akili Ogidi, Obeagwe, Ossomala, Ogwuaniocha, Umunankwo, Ogbakuba, Ochuche, Umuzu, Akili Ozizor, Atani, Ohita and Odekpe. Other areas devastated by the ravaging flood include Amiyi, Iyiowa, Ogbeukwu, Okoti and parts of Okpoko.
Said the ex-lawmaker after a visit to the area last weekend:”It is pathetic. It is a terrible sight in Ogbaru as a result of the flood disaster. The human and environmental conditions here are absolutely pathetic and requires urgent action from government in order to alleviate the sufferings of the despondent victims, most of whom have lost all their belongings to the flood disaster.
“These flood victims that cut across several communities, urgently need relief materials and other assistance from government and it’s agencies, such as NEMA and SEMA. I therefore call on these agencies to rise up to its responsibility and bring urgent succour to the people of Ogbaru, who are currently besieged by flooding, so as to avert the outbreak of health challenges associated with such incident.
“Most of them urgently need food, clothing materials, beddings, medical supplies and shelter.
“I also call on the Anambra State Government, to liaise with the Transition Committee Chairman, Hon. Paschal Aniegbuna and President Generals of Ogbaru communities, to coordinate relief efforts to ensure that there are prudently and transparently distributed in the best interest of the victims.
“Please, NEMA, SEMA and state government, should consider this as a serious and desperate SOS message and treat it with the urgency, humaneness and responsibility that it requires.”
Sadly, besides the setting up of four Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) camps and a Flood Committee, no material assistance – besides the provision of 100 foams – has come the way of the people, before yesterday’s disaster.