Protest on Sunday rocked Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, over the death of two brothers at Agudama area while trying to cross the flooded Epie Creek that stretched from Igbogene to Yenagoa.
The Epie Creek which has been neglected over the years is prone to flood and is usually becoming dangerous to cross by residents of the area.
According to investigations, the victims, Jeff Julius aged 22 and Adeni Julius aged 24, were among seven persons being ferried across the Epie Creek with a canoe from the Mbiama/Yenagoa road to the residential area when the canoe capsized.
While locals witnessing the canoe mishap were able to save five of the passengers in the canoe, the current of the flood was so strong that it swept the deceased away.
All efforts to retrieve the bodies were futile until Sunday afternoon when the bodies floated and residents of the area on seeing the bodies took to the streets to protest the neglect and failure of the government to construct a bridge across the Epie Creek.
Mr. Endwell Azibayam, a resident of the area said it was saddening that government had turned blind eye to the suffering of the people of the area.
“Yearly, people from this neighbourhood die because of flood. On Friday night, about 11pm, seven persons were crossing from Mbiama/Yenagoa Road to our area when their both capsized. We managed to rescue five persons but two people were swept away by the current of the flood. Since that day, we have been searching for their bodies until this morning 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 a canoe. If not for that reason, those boys wouldn’t have died in the manner they died on Friday.”
One of the protesters, Mr. Stanley Ikogi said residents of the area were pained by the manner of death of the two boys.
“We are protesting the death of the boys because of government’s total neglect of our community. It is painful to see those boys die in the manner they did.”
Also speaking an uncle to the deceased, Mr. Julius Diepreye, on behalf of the Julius family regretted the death of his nephews, lamenting that the government had continuously failed to live up to its responsibilities.
“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 loss people to flood. This is because 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. If the state government cannot do it, then the NDDC should do it for us. Let it not be that it is only when there is election they come and solicit our votes.”