Okwagbe Sends SOS To Okowa, NEMA, Others As Floods Submerge Community | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Okwagbe Sends SOS To Okowa, NEMA, Others As Floods Submerge Community

Okwagbe, Flood
Posted: Sep 17, 2016 at 9:11 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Collins Macaulay.

WARRI – The people of Okwagbe Community in Ughelli South local government area of Delta State have sent a “Save Our Soul (SOS)” message to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); and the Niger Delta Basin  Development Authority (NDBDA) to immediately come to the aid of the community which has been submerged by floods.
The community also called on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs; the Federal Ministry of Works; relevant agencies and philanthropists to come over to Okwaghe to lend a helping hand.
They also sought the aid of Senator Ovie Omo Agege, the Senator representing Delta Central Urhobo Ethnic Nationality; Hon. Solomon Ahwinahwi, member representing Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives; Hon. Reuben Oghenerume Yakubu Izeze; Dr. Amos Itihwe, the DESODADEC Commissioner, representing Ughelli South; Udu, Uvwie and Urhobos in Warri South LGA to come to the aid of the people who had been displaced from their ancestral homes by the floods.
Okwagbe Community which is strategically located serves as a bridge linking the riverine communities of Ayakoromor, Ofonibenghan, Ezebiri Akugbene, Oboro, Esama, Ogodobiri and Ofrukama in Burutu and Bomadi LGA, while in the mainland axis, Okwagbe connects, Egbo Ideh, Okwemor, Otegbo, Otutuama, Otitiri, Ophorigbala, Owahwa, Esaba in Ughelli South and Udu LGAs.
All the communities and many others in the area now use the jetty at Okwagbe town to access the nooks and crannies of River Ramos and River Niger.
Our correspondent who visited Okwagbe Community on September 14, 2016 said it was indeed a ‘baptism of water,’ as it was very hard for the residents to have access to their homes, with their personal effects and means of livelihood wiped out by the rampaging floods.
He reports that the people of Okwagbe Community were passing through one of the most agonizing period in their lives due to the colossal damage caused by the floods.
Okwagbe Community that used to be a beehive of commercial activities now wears the look of   an abandoned and conquered town. Our reporter saw people still scampering from one end to the other, trying all they could to salvage and ferry their moveable property in canoes away from the rampaging floods.
Hitherto, the use of canoes in Okwagbe main streets such as Akpo quarters, Imigbun, Erhobe, Idjogun and other quarters in the town was alien practice because the people used vehicles as their means of transport.
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It was a pathetic sight as vehicles parked in several places, farmlands, crops and animals were seen submerged by floods. Business activities have halted. There were threats of hunger, disease, insecurity of lives and property.
Some inhabitants of the town spoke to our correspondent about the precarious situation in the area.
Olorogun Okiemute Oviri Okwagbe, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart and illustrious son of the soil lamented the flood disaster.  
He said, “The people of Okwagbe are passing through a very tough time, “albeit” the federal revenue allocation to Delta State which was between N18 billion and N20 billion dollars in the past has nose-dived to between N4 and N6 billion monthly in Governor Okowa’s time.
“That notwithstanding, I am constrained to passionately appeal to the various agencies of government, particularly His Excellency, Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State, to come to the rescue of my people at Okwagbe.”
On how devastating the situation on ground was at the town, Olorogun Okwagbe noted that a quick response in form of relief materials was urgently needed to cushion the pains, trauma and the shock of a people dislodged unexpectedly from their ancestral homes.
For a long term solution, however, Olorogun Okwagbe again appealed to Governor Okowa to pay a working visit to the community to have a firsthand information and make an on-the-spot assessment of the extent of damage the flood has visited on the community.
Speaking further Olorogun Okwagbe explained that the closure of commercial activities and the inability of vehicles to access the town, have taken the community backward to ancient days.
He further craved the indulgence of Hon. Paul Etaga, the Ughelli South Council chairman, and Hon. Reubin Izeze to move fast to ensure that the governor’s attention is drawn to the current siege of the flood on the community.
He added that such an effort would prove beyond reasonable doubts that the mantra of prosperity for all Deltans would not be lost on the people of Okwagbe Community.
Olorogun Okwagbe said, “It bites really hard to see ones ancestral home in shambles, and graves of loved ones overrun by floods.”
The Esama of Ukpedi Kingdom stressed, “What is paramount to the community is how to check the invading flood on a short term basis while arrangements should be made by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Federal Ministry of Environment to plough back a chunk of the ecological fund to pile the river bank.
He said that the request was necessary for the economic, social and political progress of Ughelli South in particular and Delta in general.
He also appealed to Governor Okowa to mandate Mr. James Augoye, the Delta State Commissioner for Works to construct big channels for floods round the community.
Demonstrating how drastic and acute the problem had been, Olorogun Okwagbe said that the community could no longer relate with the larger society due to the flood, adding that a time like this is an opportunity for the government to demonstrate its readiness to cater for its people.Barrister A.W. Pender, who also spoke to our reporter said,
“There is an urgent need for government to save Okwagbe Community from the menace of the flood. As you can see, the whole town is overtaken by floods. We are no longer fighting it; the people have surrendered.
“At this point, only the Delta State government and other relevant government interventionist agencies can practically pull the strings that will produce positive result. Life is fast degenerating, since nothing is working now in the community.”
Evangelist Edafeshebure Kukababe Moghior, also a community leader at Okwagbe spoke to our reporter on the challenge facing the community.
He said, “We are begging Governor Okowa to come and save us so that we will not die before 2019. What is happening to us is beyond individual effort. We all tried our best until the flood overtook the town.”
Chief Matthew Kwode, another political leader in the community who also spoke to our correspondent said, “The result of the flood is what you are seeing now,” pointing at buildings from which the occupants had been sacked by the flood. “The whole community is deserted,” he lamented.
Prince Avwerhoka Kwode and Mr. Turu Oyibo, Chairman and Vice Chairman of Okwagbe Waterside, respectively,  remarked, “We are hearing of dwindling allocation, but it is not wise for us to fold our hands and allow the flood to submerge Okwagbe Community; something must be done. Government at all levels should come to our aid.”
Japhet Efekpokrire, President General of Okwagbe Progressive Union, Warri Branch, while lamenting the pains brought to the community by the flood said, “As the commercial capital of Ughievwen, the livelihood of many communities are linked to Okwagbe as a centre of commerce, besides being our ancestral home. We appeal to all relevant stakeholders, especially our governor, the House of Assembly members, representing our constituency, Hon. Reuben Izeze, to come immediately to the rescue of the community.
Chief Pius Aruegan Sakpakpa and Mr. Otto Lakpa said that the people of Okwagbe were waiting for Governor Okowa whom they described as a man with listening ears. They, however, added that the process should be fast- tracked as everything has turned upside down in the town.
Chief (Mrs.) Regina Ofigho and Madam Pancake Irhoghor both women leaders and Comrade Benjamin Ejoghenesun Omogoisibo, Chairman, Jeremi Ward 3 who spoke to our reporter pleaded with government to come and rescue the community.
Our correspondent described the situation in Okwagbe Community as dire as the place is no longer accessible by vehicles. All hands must be on deck to find solution to the perennial flooding of the area and to save the people from starvation, disease, and calamity.