Some residents of Agudama community, Saturday, took to the streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital to protest the death of two males, Jeff Julius (22 years) and Adeni Julius, who drowned while crossing the flooded Epie Creek, Friday night.
It was learnt from an eyewitness account that the deceased and five others were ferrying across the Epie Creek in canoe from the Mbiama/Yenagoa road to their residence, a residential area prone to flood, about 11pm Friday when the canoe capsized.
It was also gathered that local residents of the area managed to save five occupants of the ill-fated canoe but by the time they could rescue Jeff and Adeni the current of the flood had swept them under water where they drowned.
It was further learnt that several efforts to recover the bodies of the deceased proved aborted until the early hours of Sunday when the bodies resurfaced as a result of change in the density of the bodies.
A neighbour of the deceased, Mr. Endwell Azibayam, said that “Yearly, people from this neighborhood died because of flood.
“On Friday night, at about 11pm, seven persons were crossing from Mbiama/Yenagoa road to our area when the both capsized.
“We managed to rescue five persons but two persons 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. Because government 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 the Epie Creek with canoe. If not for that reason, those boys wouldn’t have died in the manner they did on Friday.”
Speaking on behalf of the victims’ family, the uncle of the victims, Mr. Diepreye Julius, blamed the government for the death of his nephews, saying the government has continuously failed to live up to its responsibilities.
Mr. Julius continued, “The people living across the Epie Creek have been suffering for more than 20 years. Since the creation of Bayelsa State in 1996, every year we lose people to flood.
“The reason being 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 normally do every year is to use a canoe to cross over to the city each time there is flood.
“As a result of this, I lost two of my nephews of 22 and 24 years old 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 because I don’t need it.
“What I want government 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. Let is not be that it is only when there is election they come and solicit for our votes.”
Also speaking, one of the protesting residents of the area, Mr. Stanley Ikogi said, “We are protesting the death of the boys because of government’s total neglect of our community. It is painful to see those children die in the manner they did.
“Our only demand is that government should construct the only access road linking this area to other parts of the state or better still they should construct a bridge to enable people cross to the other part of the city.
“During the 2012 flood, we lost seven lives, last year, we lost three persons and this year we have lost two young men to the flood. How long are we going to live in this condition?” He queried.
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