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.
The Tide 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.
The Tide 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 told newsmen, that “yearly, people from this neighborhood died because of flood.
“Last Friday night, at about 11pm, seven persons were crossing from Mbiama/Yenagoa road to our area when the boat 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.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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