•Ruler laments plight of victims
From CHRIS AGUNWEZE, Port Harcourt
The death toll of flood victims camped in various parts of Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State has increased to over 30. Among the dead were two new born babies. The sad news of flood victims, dying in their camps, hit the airwave when some of the ward councillors in charge of such camps raised the alarm that inmates were dying due to poor sanitary conditions of the camps. But the increase in the death toll was given by the traditional ruler of Ahoada, Eze P. C. Ihua Maduenyi, the Eze Ahoada III.
He spoke with Daily Sun in his palace in Ahoada. “Over 30 deaths in less than three weeks, the average of 10 persons in just one week is, indeed, very alarming. This high rate of death is most disturbing,’’ he said in an emotion-laden voice. According to him, no day passes without recording, at least, two deaths. He said the alleged failure by the state government to recognise most of the camps compounded the problem.
Investigation by Daily Sun showed that two inmates, a man and a woman, had earlier died at Community Secondary School, Edeoha camp, while in UBE camp in Ahoada, Town, Mr. Goodluck Agi, said to be a native of Ihuike town, died on October 25. The councillor, representing the ward, Marvin, confirmed this, saying the late Agi started vomiting on October 24 and was rushed to the General Hospital where he died.
The Ahoada monarch said a man died at Odiemenyi the same day while two men gave up the ghost the following day, one at Alakpata, another at Odiokwo. He also disclosed how a woman was delivered of triplets and two died as a result of lack of medical care.
The lady was among the displaced persons camped at the General Hospital, one of the camps the government allegedly refused to recognise. “As a result, the woman and her new babies were denied medical care in the hospital where she gave birth,” he claimed.
As if to confirm what the traditional ruler said earlier, there was a report last Friday afternoon that another child, a year-old, just died at the General Hospital camp. The reporter, who had been at Ahoada for the past three days, monitoring the situation, rushed to the camp and the inmates confirmed the sad news, alleging that the hospital refused to treat the child since it was not a recognised camp.
They gave the name of the baby’s mother as Agnes, adding that she just left the camp. Eze Ahoada said the Gov. Chibuike Amaechi committee on flood victims, led by his deputy, Tele Ikulu, recognised only six of the camps, leaving out 15. Residents of Ekpere, he said, took up the challenge of taking care of victims in such camps. He explained that Eze Robinson O. Robinson, Eze of Ekpeye kingdom, raised a 12-man committee to take care of the15 camps allegedly abandoned by the state government. “The challenge in running those 15 camps had been very huge, only the Ekpeye King, Eze Robinson O. Robinson and other well-meaning sons of Ekpeye have been making donations for the sustenance of 15 camps abandoned by the government,” he said.
The Eze Ahoada pleaded with Governor Amaechi, to recognise the camps since the victims are also indigenes of the state. He also called on charity organisations and multinational oil companies, operating in Ekpeye, to take care of natives of their host communities, saying it was only Total Oil E&P that had so far made direct donation to the Ekpeye committee on flood victims.