The lawmaker representing Ogbaru federal constituency at the House of Representatives Abuja, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema popularly known as Chuchu Onyema has donated his multi-million naira property at Idemili Odekpe in Ogbaru to house victims of flood disaster in the constituency.
Ogbaru federal constituency which has been completely submerged by the deluge in the area has sacked inhabitants of the area from their respective homes; forcing them to seek shelter wherever they found one. Hence the remote reason Chuchu Onyema volunteered his multi-million naira property to house the IDPs who were apparently too many to count.
Apart from donating his property to serve as an IDP camp, the federal lawmaker also doled out relief materials worth millions of naira to all the communities and IDP camps in the Ogbaru local government area, saying that it was his little quota to help alleviate hunger in the area as the flood has indeed had a devastating effect on them.
Onyema noted that it was rather unfortunate as people have lost their means of livelihood. He said the 2022 flood disaster reminded one of the COVID-19 eras when the federal government intervened with relief materials and other forms of palliatives. That such palliatives were urgently needed in the present circumstance to help the people, especially during the post-flood era.
He said most rice farms have been carried away by the flood and that a hunger crisis is imminent even as he explained that they would move motions to persuade the government of the federation to provide little assistance to people affected by the deluge.
According to him, there was an absolute need to either dam or dredge the River Niger in order to proffer a lasting solution to the perennial flooding in Ogbaru as Indigenes can not be compelled to vacate their ancestral homes due to incessant flooding, stressing that it is rather unfortunate that the flood assumed such devastating magnitude.
The federal legislator also opined that another very critical concern is the post-flood era. He said people have lost their means of livelihood. Farmers, fishermen, and indeed everyone have lost everything to the flood. That the federal government should make adequate relief plans for those in the riverine areas to help alleviate their sufferings, especially after the flood.
He said he and his brothers in the state assembly thought it necessary to distribute relief materials to the IDP camps and communities in Ogbaru just to assist the people in their own little way. Onyema also disclosed that one of the family properties has been given out to IDPs for them to stay until the flood is over.
Onyema said, ” People actually sleep on the roads. The forest behind has already been displaced by water. Now, what that simply means is that all kinds of reptiles like snakes, crocodiles, monkeys, and other animals displaced from the forest, will now come into town because they too are looking for where to feed, and then, you have people sleeping on the roads. It’s really dangerous.
Where ever we have houses, we give them out for people to go and stay because that is really the best we can do right now. The level of devastation is enormous. A church has collapsed in Iyiowa. The wall of the Naval base in Ogbaru has collapsed. The damage is enormous and it’s not something the state government can handle alone.
I actually pity the state government because they are new. They came into power tackling insecurity and this now happened. They are really trying. This is a federal government issue. The only bad news so far is about the boat mishap that happened in Umunankwo while some of the IDP camps have been overwhelmed by water. Those overwhelmed by the flood have been closed and that is why we donated our family house to provide shelter for internally displaced persons. ”
Receiving the relief materials officially from Hon. Chuchu Onyema at Okoti Odekpe in Ogbaru local government area, the Transition Committee Chairman of the council area Hon. Paschal Aniegbunam, said the people of Ogbaru never expected that the deluge will get to the level it is at the moment as the water level kept increasing every day.
Aniegbunam said all the communities in Ogbaru local government were under flood waters and completely submerged. He said Atani, Akiri, and other communities have been consumed by the flood. That one will hardly see buildings because the devastations according to him were too enormous and daring.
Although he mentioned that the state government provided four IDP camps in Ogbaru even though they didn’t anticipate the flood will get to the level it is. He said the government takes care of the IDPs in the various camps; providing food and medicare for them.
The TC chairman noted that the only unfortunate thing was that the government began sensitisation early enough about imminent flooding but people in Ogbaru were adamant and didn’t heed government sensitisation for them to come to the uplands for safety and succor. That even though their homes were in the water, they still want to remain there.
On the other hand, Ogom Izukanne who hails from Atani in Ogbaru said that the water level was becoming too high when compared to the 2012 flood. Izukanne lamented that the water has passed the window level of his own house and that apart from the boat that capsized, two lives have also been lost to the flood at Atani.
He said, Hon. Chuchu Onyema has come to their aid to give them relief materials but the problem according to him, is where they would stand and cook the food items. He said everywhere had been submerged by water and that the flood was too massive this time.
Dr. Iweama Vincent Okwudili who is a native of Osamala in the Ogbaru local government area and coordinator for the distribution of relief materials to communities and IDP camps in the area told our correspondent that Hon. Chuchu Onyema felt that the people were really suffering and so decided to provide food items and other materials to help the people feed in this trying time.
Iweama noted that Hon. Chuchu Onyema provided 100 bags of 50kg rice, 300 cartons of Tummy Tummy noodles, 40 cartons of premium soap, 40 cartons of detergents, and 80 cartons of cabin biscuits, adding that the most important thing was that the family house of Hon. Chuchu Onyema has been given out to flood-devastated victims to take shelter to make life a little bit mean for them.
Again Dr. Iweama pointed out that the relief materials were meant for the IDP camps and all the 16 communities in Ogbaru local government area; that they will ensure that the relief materials got to the real beneficiaries in the remote communities especially those who have refused to come out to the uplands or those still trapped in the floods.
He however appealed passionately to the federal, state and local governments as well as other public-spirited individuals to come to the aid of the Ogbaru people because they are really suffering. Iweama revealed that some elderly people can not come out again because there is no road for them to access. That they are currently trapped in the floods.
He said one of the women leaders while discussing with him on the phone said she has cassava, yam, and other foodstuff but she does not have money to buy palm oil because the flood has submerged her place in Osamala and she can not come out to source for money. Iweama maintained that their people are really suffering and gnashing their teeth as the effect of the flood-hit them catastrophically.
Meanwhile, Hon. Somtochukwu Udeze, the lawmaker representing Ogbaru 2 state constituency in the 7th legislature of Anambra state who was part of the official handover ceremony of the relief materials to the local government chairman, said that the people of Ogbaru never envisaged the kind of flood devastations they experienced this year.
Udeze said his family house at Atani has been completely consumed by the surging flood and that his constituents no longer access their houses unless they used boats and canoes. That the 2022 flood disaster was more than a nightmare. He stated that the anticipation was that the flood will not be up to the magnitude it has taken but the sad reality according to him, was that the flood level kept on increasing every day and displacing more people. Over 80% of Ogbaru has been covered by water.
The lawmaker said, ” All the farmlands, all the houses, churches, roads, everywhere have been covered by flood. The news we received is that one of the churches in Ogbaru, Madona Catholic Church collapsed. This is not the first because, inside the villages, most of the buildings will collapse after the flooding. The situation is really tense. Virtually all the camps between Osamala, Ogbakuba, Obeagu, Atani and Odekpe have been submerged by flood. So efforts are being intensified to see if we can get them out to camps in the upland areas. Our prayer is that let the water stop increasing because if it keeps increasing, the next alternative will be to move them to Onitsha.
We have been going around on daily basis. It’s indeed a terrible situation. Our people are predominantly farmers. Most of them borrow money to farm. Now the issue of paying back their loans which are not covered by insurance and raising money for the farm next year will be serious challenges after the flooding. Those that have small businesses will find it difficult to start again. This flood disaster will equally pose psychological problems to kids, their parents and other people. We are appealing to the federal and state government to come to our aid because we are in dire need of help. ”
One of the Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim who shared his ordeal with our correspondent at Hon. Chuchu Onyema’s IDP Camp at Idemili Odekpe Ogbaru local government area said the flood chased them out of their homes, and Hon. Chuchu Onyema was generous enough to provide an alternative abode for them to stay in until everything returned to normal.
Ibrahim said, ” We appreciate what Hon. Chuchu Onyema did for us because it is due to the flood disaster that is why we are here. He is the one that provided this place for us to stay. So we appreciate his kind gesture and also pray that God will continue to guide and protect him for us. He is indeed a good man. “