From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The people of Ogidi in Anambra State have appealed to the state and federal governments to come to their aid on the ravaging flood that has claimed lives and destroyed household property in recent time in the community.
The flood, the traditional ruler, Igwe of Ogidi, Onyido, said has brought sleepless nights and worries to the residents.
The flood has submerged the old Enugu-Awka road and threatening to destroy the palace of the monarch, Igwe Onyido.
Other road users that ply the old Awka road suffer a lot whenever it rains due to the volume of water that covers the road, making it impassable and causing traffic jam while cars and buses always divert to the villages to cut off the area, he said.
Igwe Onyido said that the flood would soon sack the entire area if urgent attention was given to the place by both the state and federal government.
According to Igwe Onyido, “the flood has been disturbing for the past five years. During the time of the past administration led by Mr Peter Obi, he embarked on rehabilitation of the old Enugu-Awka road, the construction company put big gutters on the road which the water channel started from Awka down to Afor Igwe market. The construction company came to our place and dug a catch pit to absorb the water which flows from other communities to Afor Igwe market area, but the catch pit could not contain or absorb the volume of rain water when it rains which made it over flows the pit down to our community and to my house.
“So, due to the fact that the catch pit cannot contain the water then it flows down to our place. The then government didn’t care to maintain the catch pit and to come and clear it to enable the water to contain the flood, they are supposed to maintain it at least every year by clearing all the debris, dirts and objects that might have been filled and blocked the catch pit to have space to contain more water during the rainy season.
“The state government and local government have not been maintaining the catch pit, so the water will not have any place to stock due to the debris and shallowness of the catch pit. When rainy season comes it will over flow the pit and be diverted to people’s homes and roads causing havoc. You can see that people no more live close to the place, last year one person was drown which the corpse was seen floating in the morning at the place.
“Any time it rains, residents and road users are always trapped, they cannot cross to the other side of the road and houses will be submerged. We have approached the governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano to come to our aid, to come and do something in the area which he promised that the government wanted to award the contract to evacuate the water and take it to the nearby river but up till now nothing has been done. The problem is there and my people are not happy, once it rains nobody including motorists can pass through the road because the road will be over flooded to the extent that no vehicle can cross or it will be drowned.
“If you look at the frontage of my house you will see flood, this is because I created pond to contain and absorb the water and whenever the pond is filled up my house is under threat, the water is supposed to pass through the gutter but because the gutter that came from Afor Igwe is on top and the level of my house is below which cannot work and that is it why it overflows the gutter, so I have sacrificed that land at my frontage to water in order to save my house, the land is supposed to be empty from the main road.
“For now my house is under threat, some time if the water over flows the pond in front of my house it will flow into my compound. People living on the other side of my house don’t sleep, some time water enters inside their rooms, they keep awake at night when it rains. Those who built fence two days it fell due to the flood.
“The flood also comes from nearby towns like Uke and Umuoji down to this place. It gives us sleeplessness night and the government needs to do something urgently otherwise we are in trouble, if you know how we suffer you will pity us. I have made video clips of the place and sent to the government to see the menace. I’m appealing to the Federal and state governments to come to our aid, state government cannot do the work alone because the budget as I was told is over N2 billion, the state government cannot handle it alone. Federal government can use ecological and erosion control fund because it is a natural disaster. I don’t think with the lean resources of the state government they can afford it without being injured financially,” Igwe Onyido said.
A resident of the area, Mrs. Ngozi Okoye, said: “The flood is affecting us seriously, at times when we are sleeping at night the flood will wake us up and we began to remove our property. It destroys our household property and our farms. We are begging and calling on government to re-channel the waterways down to the river. “When it rains most of us living downstairs will take our children to nearby upstairs to avoid being drowned when our house will be submerged by the flood.”
Some other families being affected by the flood such as Ikenna Ibezim, Ofelu, Okoye appealed to the government to urgently tackle the flood problem which has claimed lives and destroyed property in the community.
The Chairman of Idemili North Local Government Area, Chief Ralph Asha Nnabuife said that the government is aware of the flood problem in Ogidi and has plan to tackle, adding that the government is working hard to address the menace and appealed to the residents to exercise patience.