Many communities in Anambra State have been submerged by flooding and the people displaced. As it stands, there are few or no dry lands left especially in the whole of Anambra West Local Government Area of the state.
Being a yearly problem, the people had hoped that the federal and state governments would have been proactive and put measures in place to reduce the effects.
The agony is endless. The people are not only losing property, but their farmlands and its produce as well. The few farm produce not washed away by flood are now rottening because there is no better way or place to preserve them. The people are really in pain and needs urgent help from government, organizations and individuals. The government appears to be taking to long to act.
The state governor, Chief Willie Obiano had an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari few days ago concerning the problem and people are eagerly waiting for response. Narrating what he discussed with the president, Obiano said: “Four of my local governments, that is four out of 21, are under water now as we speak because of this flood and it affected a lot of things, property which include farm produce and what have you. So, I called on Mr President to assist us at this very crucial time being a COVID time. And now, the flood we are experiencing this time around, is like 2012 which is terrible.
“We have over 5,000 people displaced and we already prepared some receptacles where we received the displaced people. But they will need help now and also need help when the water is receding because they lost their property which majorly include their produce which was not harvested before this flood crept in.
“So, he promised to do something immediately. I believe Mr President will be able to assist us to be able to support these families that have been displaced in this manner.”
Some of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that the people need help more urgently because the whole of Anambra West is under water. “To cook now is a problem because there is no dry land anywhere except people that use stove of gas. Many of us are not used to these things. We use firewood but are now forced to use them because we have no alternative. If you don’t do it, you and your family will die of starvation.
“Aside that, many people sleep on unroofed deckon because their houses are submerged and they moved to any available higher ground no matter how uncomfortable. The other day it rained heavily and both the old and children were drenched by rain for hours. Our people are in pain. The only means of movement now is by canoe and even things as little as matches to light stoves can cause you endless pains because if you don’t have it, and you do not have canoe to paddle to where you could get one, you are left with endless agony.”
Before now, the representative of Anambra East/West Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Chief Benjamin Chinedu Obidigwe, called on the Federal Government to take the case of dredging River Niger very seriously to curb flooding and not play politics with it.
Obidigwe, who is the Vice-Chairman, Environment Committee, decried the excessive flooding which submerge the communities along Rivers Niger and Benue, yearly, leading to loss of properties and farm produce.
He noted that a lot has been said about the importance by the government but no visible progress has been recorded. He bemoaned the agony of his constituents whose crops are eroded prematurely by flooding which occur from July to October every year.
He said: ‘The Rivers are shallow and cannot absorb the volume of water released yearly from the dams. Dredging them will deepen them, save the riverside communities from agonies, as well as make it possible for a ship to berth there.’
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had in a report disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is spending N100 million on the job, adding that after paying a contractor N34 billion for the dredging exercise, former administration failed to get the job done.
‘When the River Niger was first approved for dredging by the previous administration,’ Mr Amaechi said, “’t was approved for N47 billion and N34 billion was paid to the contractor. We are not dredging the River Niger with billions of naira; we are dredging the River Niger with just N100 million.’
The communities in the affected areas need more that political talk. They want somebody to help them. Aside, providing temporary measures, the people desire permanent solution.