By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—No fewer than 152 houses, 27 public toilets, one hotel and scores of fish farms, were submerged in the current flooding experienced in Oguta community, Imo State.
Disclosing this exclusively to Vanguard in a telephone interview yesterday, the traditional ruler of the autonomous community, Eze Igwe Nani Nzeribe, lamented that although the flood has started receding, no federal or state government agency has so far come to the aid of any affected family.
“Although the flood has started receding in some areas of the community, it must however, be said a good chunk of our land is still under water”, the royal father said.
He was irked that despite appeals and documentary evidence of the devastation, the affected families were simply abandoned by government to their fate.
“We have 73 satellite farm settlements in our place, including Onuakuku, Azukazia, Egwe Owe Akwa, Ubi Oshimiri, Owe Abashi, Ani Idide and the others. Each of them is populated by farmers, members of their families and other residents, especially labourers”, the royal father said.
Answering a question, Eze Nzeribe said that the indented satellite settlements accommodates about 10,000 small holder farmers and households, whose farms have been flooded.
Asked to put a price on the damage caused by the flood, the royal father said it must be in excess of N2.5 billion.
“Where do we start counting? Is it from the fish farms, cash crops, yams, cassava, livestock or buildings and household furniture? Honestly, the damage is colossal”, Nzeribe said.
Continuing, the Oguta royal father, who was the Director General of Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, before he ascended the throne of his forefathers, confirmed that the corpses of two people the community lost in the ravaging flood, were eventually recovered.
“There is no way we can quantify the loss of the two precious lives in terms of Naira and Kobo. For us, this is an irreparable loss to the community. Their corpses have been recovered, but the pain remains deep rooted”, Nzeribe grieved.
He then appealed to the concerned federal and state government agencies to come to the aid of all the affected families in his community.
“Nothing will be good enough for the affected families now, than for government to ameliorate the suffering of the affected people”, the royal father pleaded.