A victim of a boat mishap which happened last weekend in the flooded parts of Ogbaru Council Area of Anambra state, has disclosed how he lost his wife, daughter and brother in the unfortunate incident.
The ill-fated boat with about 85 persons on board, reportedly capsized at Umunnankwo community bridge.
The boat, which took off from Onukwu bridge, was heading to Nkwo market, Ogbakuba before it capsized.
Many people involved in the accident are yet to be accounted for, while some bodies have been recovered.
Chukwudi Izuka, who TNC correspondent met at a holding centre for displaced persons in Ogbaru, said they had to use the ferry because the bridge has collapsed.
According to him, the ferryman had refused to embark on the ill-fated journey but the people persuaded him to ferry them across, since the flooding was become dangerous.
“The engineman (ferryman) told us that he will not go because of what he had seen on the waters.
“It was getting late and we had no other option than the water route because the Umunankwo bridge had collapsed.
“After much persuasion, the man agreed and we contributed money for him.
“I was in the boat with my wife and my brother while carrying my daughter.
“When the boat started, we were all very happy and we took off, not knowing the fate that awaits us.
“On the boat, we had average number because we didn’t want to overlabour the ferry,” he disclosed.
Izuka revealed that when they approached the Umunankwo bridge, the ferry engine stopped all of a sudden.
According to him, all efforts to get the engine to start proved abortive.
“The speed of the flood was too much and we noticed that the boat was sinking.
“My wife is not from my area and does not know how to swim.
“Immediately, I took the initiative to jump into the river as everybody was jumping in to try to swim to safety.
“My wife asked where I was going and I lied to her that I want to go and help the boys to steady the boat but I knew that was it because I couldn’t carry her and move through the water.
“Immediately, I jumped in, my brother jumped in and I knew he could swim but the iron on the collapsed bridge hit him very hard on the head and he lost it.
“The iron also hit me as the water continued to throw us about but I held on until I came to safety.
“I saw my brother give up and go down,” he lamented.
Izuka who regretted the loss of his wife, daughter and brother in the incident, said many who died could not swim.
He appealed to the government to bring succour for the displaced persons, noting that the grief he suffers, whenever the memory of how his loved ones died, is still unbearable.
“Till now, I am still at a loss!
“I don’t know if I will get over this because the loss is just enormous.
“The memories keep coming every now and then. I feel so lost,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, the Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET) a foremost platform for Citizens and Non State Actors’ stakeholders, has empathized with communities and citizens affected by the current flooding, as a result of persistent rainfalls.
Comrade Azor who is also, a member of the governing Board of Anambra State Waste Management Agency (ASWAMA) made the statement to newsmen in the wake of Gov. Soludo’s visit to some of the IDP camps in the State. He lamented the hardship and dislocation citizens are going through, and expressed his empathy and commiserations.
The Human rights advocate called on the President of the Federal Republic, Mohammadu Buhari to urgently come to the aid of the victims in order to ameliorate their pitiable conditions.
“It is the primary purpose of government to ensure security and welfare of citizens. The President swore to uphold this responsibility. And therefore, should act with dispatch before it’s too late,” he said.
The Comrade also, implored well meaning citizens and development partners to rally round and support government efforts at tackling this obvious existential threat.