By PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI — AKPOHA in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, weekend, expressed dissatisfaction over marginalisation and non-compensation of its people over the flood that hit the area last year.
Briefing newsmen at Afikpo North local government council headquarters, leader of the community, Chief Simon Egwu, noted that the money released by both federal and state governments to flood victims in the state did not get to any of them at Akpoha, adding that only relief materials got to them.
He said they were at the Local Government council to register their protest and appeal for inclusion in the payment of compensation since many of the people, mainly farmers, suffered severely from the flood disaster that affected several states in the country.
Egwu said: “We can’t understand why our people who were the worst hit by the flood disaster could be excluded. The flood that took place last year submerged our farms and destroyed our crops.
“We couldn’t harvest anything from our farms. This occurrence led to the impoverishment of our people”.
Reacting, Chairman of the council, Tony Ekoh, expressed shock at the protest by members of Akpoha, noting that disbursement of funds to flood victims had long been concluded by the council.
Ekoh said: “The protest came as a surprise to me. We have long concluded the payment of compensation to victims.
“How come, is it now that we are talking about local government election that people will now decide to protest?”
Ekoh pointed out that the council had paid those victims whose names were sent to him through the ward councillors, adding that the exclusion of some flood victims from the list was due to the inability of their representatives at the Ward to send their names at the appropriate time.
He added: “When the governor asked that we go and get verifiable lists of flood victims, there is no way I would have gone ward by ward to get names of flood victims.
“What I did was to call the councillors and told the what the governor had directed. I told them that if they were going to get those names, they should ensure that they were the actual people that were affected.”