170,000 displaced by floods in Ibaji, Kogi State
No help has come from any quarters, victims lament
By Daniel Adaji
Over 170,000 persons living in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State have been displaced by the devastating floods in the agrarian community in the last two weeks, according to eye-witnesses.
I lost my step-mother today due to continuous and excess of flooding
Unconfirmed number of persons have died in the floods, as victims have continued to cry out for assistance. For instance, Edibo Ojomenyo, a resident of Ibaji, told The Insight that he lost his step-mother on Thursday October 6, 2022.
Edibo wrote in a text message thus: “Today we say, the late Mrs Ruth Ijekwemu Edibo. I lost my step-mother today due to continuous and excess of flooding in Ejule Ojebe, Ibaji LGA.”
The President of Ibaji Unity Forum (IUF), Barrister Stephen Uchola lamented that six persons and a three-year-old girl were killed in the flood.
According to him, “At Aniocha in Ojila Ward, a 3-year-old child fell into the river and died. The casualty figure is low because many of our people can swim.”
He said since the outbreak of the devastating flood which submerged the entire local government and rendered the residents homeless, there had not been any assistance from government and its agencies for the victims.
Uchola said many of the victims were in danger of losing their lives as they were sick, without drugs, food and shelter.
At Aniocha in Ojila Ward, a 3-year-old child fell into the river and died
He added that many had remained trapped in their communities as all the roads in the local government had been taken over by the flooding.
Ibaji is a Local Government Area in Kogi State, Nigeria in the south of the state, separated from Edo State to the west by the Niger River, and bordering Delta State in the south. Its headquarters are in the town of Onyedega on the Niger River in the northwest of the area at 6°53′00″N 6°41′00″E. The northeasterly line of equal latitude and longitude passes through the LGA. It has an area of 1,377 km2 and a population of 128,129 at the 2006 census and 171,900 by 2022 estimate.
The flood that started late September 2022 has since rendered thousands of residents homeless and some others have been thrown into mourning.
The flood has come at a time when Kogi State is battling food insecurity and high food inflation. Until the flood, Ibaji was the food hub of Kogi State, as it produces large quantities of yam, rice and other grains.
Ibaji is also renowned for fish farming.
The flood has claimed lives of both young and old in the Local Government. For instance, a family, whose name could not be ascertained, lamented that they could not bury their last born who died in the flood. It was not left with another option that to drowned the dead in the flood.
Another family explained their predicament thus: “Our last born just died, we are caught up in the flood, there is no place to bury him and my dad is thinking of drowning him. There is not boat to get out of the house at the moment. And even when a boat comes, it is very expensive to afford. Please, we need help.”
As the flood continued to wreak havoc in the area, the people have lamented the removal of their Local Government from the list of flood affected areas who should benefit from support from Government.
.In a widely circulated protest letter, a group, Ibaji Progressive Youths Foundation, described the data released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agencies (NHSA) that excluded the local government from flood-ravaged areas as skewed, inaccurate and incomplete.
The letter said, “Politics outside, flood menace in Ibaji Local Government Area is an annual occurrence and every year leaves the people with huge human and economic losses.
“Ibaji Local Government Area has always been the worst hit from the yearly flooding in Kogi State since creation. Hence, we are shocked to note that Ibaji LGA was not indicated in the list, while Okene LGA which has nothing that is not along the plain Kogi State made the list.”
Ibaji Local Government Area has always been the worst hit from the yearly flooding in Kogi State since creation
The removal implied that they would not benefit from relief materials meant for flood victims in the state.
Several organizations, including Uk’Omu Igala Organization, had in a press statement last week, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Yahaya Bello, and other international organizations to come to the aid of Ibaji people.
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