March 2, 2024

Kogi Flood: Victims Turn Beggars, Accuse Govt Officials Of Diverting Relief Materials

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By The9JaTREND

Investigation by The9JaTREND correspondence in Lokoja, Kogi State have revealed that relief materials meant for Flood victims in the state who are living in the Internally Displaced Camps (IDP) have been allegedly diverted by government officials, as they now feed from hand to mouth.

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The 2022 flood is one of the worst natural disasters that hit Kogi State since 2012. Houses were submerged, farmlands destroyed, many rendered homeless, while some have buried their loved ones.

Nine Local Government Areas in Kogi is currently suffering from the devastating effect of this year’s flood, namely: Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji and Omala, during which about 600 hectres of farmlands and property, including houses, worth billions of naira were destroyed.

Seven persons; four in Ibaji Local Government Area and three from Ajaokuta Local Area of the State lost their lives at the peak of the flood. The IDPs camps are all full to the brim as flood victims beg to survive on a daily basis.

The9JaTREND investigation also observed that there is no access to basic facilities such as water, toilets and suitable place for the victims to lie their head.

Some flood victims and their families sleep outside in the middle of the night, without mosquito nets, thereby exposing themselves to disease outbreaks such as Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria and many more.

In Gadumo IDPs camp, some of the affected flood victims have accused some Kogi government officials allegedly diverting the food items and other relief materials sent to them to cushion their suffering.

One of the victims in the IDPs camps said, “They brought pieces of indomie, and even the garri they brought, we shared four four cups for each family and they came with certain people that were carrying arms. We could not say anything. We are really suffering. They came in with their vehicles, and we heard that this is what they brought to reduce our suffering. But what we got was a slap in our faces.

“When they started sharing things, they packed it in a small nylon bag to give to us. I can show it to you. The number of people who shared this thing packed in small nylon is very few. The rest, they took it somewhere else.

“From our calculation, they brought 15 mattresses and five bags of garri for 59 households. This they said is from the State government. They didn’t give us rice as widely speculated.”

Another flood victim said, “Food items were brought to our camp. Surprisingly, a self-acclaimed chief from Gadumo came, insisting that he is acting under the instruction of a Local Government Chairman to share food stuff meant for us that have been displaced from our respective homes. Him and his fully armed men later took almost all the food items brought to our camps, leaving us to suffer.

“One of the shocking scenarios is that they came with a video camera and photographers were snapping pictures, making it look as if they were distributing large food stuff to us; meanwhile, nothing of such.

“We discovered that they took this material to share it with their loved ones who are not flood victims. I know God is not asleep. Whatever they are doing now, I strongly believe that they will face the consequences in the future.”

In a related development, another victim in IDP camp said, “We are about three weeks here, while some of us are getting to a month in this IDPs camp. They said we should relocate to a higher ground, that is why we are here. Since we came here, we have been seeing SEMA coming here and some Government officials, but no security, no water.

“Many of us are sick. Mosquitoes keep biting us. Everything is politics now. The Chairman of our Local Government came here. As he was going, he gave us some food items tied in nylon bags. He gave us some food items and relief materials that are not up to anything and took the remaining ones away. Since we are here, we have not seen any meaningful help from the Government.

“We are now beggars in our own State. If not for this flood that sacked me and my entire family from my home, I won’t be here looking for who to help me. God should hear our cry, because these sufferings are becoming unbearable. Instead of people showing empathy for us, they are diverting what is meant to ameliorate our hardship.”

An official from the State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA) who never wanted her name mentioned, confirmed the development.

She hinted that the order was from above and they could not do anything to salvage the situation at hand.

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