Agudama community protests as flood claims two in Bayelsa
Residents of Agudama Epie Community, on Sunday, took to the streets of Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State to protest the death of two males, Jeff Julius and Adeni Julius, who got drowned while crossing the flooded Epie creek.
The protesters, who dared the policemen deployed to the area to put the situation under control barricade Mbiana/Yenagoa road thereby causing traffic gridlock for many hours.
According to eyewitness account the deceased and five others were crossing Epie Creek in a boat from Mbiama/Yenagoa road to their residence around 11 p.m. on Friday when the boat capsized.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the residents of the area managed to rescue five occupants of the ill-fated boat, but they could not rescue Jeff and Adeni, who had been swept under water by the current of the flood.
It was further learnt that several efforts to recover the corpses of the deceased proved aborted until the early hours of Sunday when the bodies resurfaced.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune, a neighbuor to the deceased, Mr. Endwell Azibayam, said: “Yearly people from this neighbourhood die due to flood. On Friday night around 11 p.m., seven persons were crossing from Mbiama/Yenagoa road to our area when the boat capsized.
“We managed to rescue five persons but two were swept away by the current of the flood. Since that day, we have been searching for their bodies until this morning when we discovered them. Since government has failed to build a bridge for us, we built a wooden bridge that we managed until the flood came and swept it away.
“So the only way we can connect to the outside world is to cross Epie Creek with boat. If not for this, those boys wouldn’t have died in the manner they did on Friday.”
Speaking on behalf of the grieving father, the deceased’s uncle, Mr. Julius Diepreye, blamed the government for the death of his nephews, saying government had continuously failed to live up to its responsibilities.
Diepreye said, “People living across Epie Creek have been suffering for more than 20 years now. Since the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, every year we loss people to flood.
“The reason is that government has failed to construct the road linking this area to Igbogene. For government to build a 100 meter bridge across the creek is a problem. So what we do is to use the boat to cross over to the city each time there is flood.
“I lost two of my nephews aged 22 and 24 on Friday. This is because the state government has failed to meet its primary responsibility. I am not asking government to give my family money, I am not asking government to give us relief materials as flood victims. What I want government to do is that they should construct our road so that there would be no more loss of lives and properties. If the state government cannot do it, then the NDDC should do it for us. It shouldn’t be that it is only when there is election that they come to solicit for our votes.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident, saying the situation had been brought under control.