The farmers said they lost all they had to the floods. Farmers in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State said they are starving along with their families after floods washed away all their property. They appealed to the Federal Government to provide seedlings and relief materials to cushion the effects of the 2012 flood disaster.
The farmers, in separate interviews in Ibaji on Sunday, said that they lost all their crops and granaries to the disaster. Ibaji Local Government Area was the worst hit area in the state by the 2012 floods. This led the Federal Government to evacuate all residents to Idah town in the state. The area is a border riverine community between Kogi and Anambra, comprising no fewer than 34 villages with farming as the major occupation of inhabitants.
A farmer at Odeke village, Eke Emeje, said that she left grains she recovered from her granary behind during evacuation of the area because rescue boats refused to carry goods. "I waited for three days with some grains I took from my granary, but the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) refused to take any goods. So, I had to leave everything to save my life. At the camp in Idah, we were not given enough food and when the flood receded we came back home to see that all our farms and granaries had been washed away. Now, we are hungry and there is famine in our land. The farming season is approaching and we have no seeds to plant. Most of our houses collapsed and we are living in danger. Government should save us from starvation," she pleaded.
A cassava farmer at Ugwoda, Jude Atta, said that he lost about five hectares of cassava farmland to flood. He said he presently has no cassava stems to plant in the new cropping season. "We were expecting a bumper harvest then, but the flood came overnight and destroyed everything. I lost crops spanning over five hectares. Our granaries were washed away, and seedlings is a major problem we are now having," Mr. Atta, a pastor at the Glorious Faith Ministry, said. He said one Dave Ogwu, out of goodwill, had distributed seedlings to a few farmers in the area to alleviate their sufferings. Mr. Atta, however, noted that the seedlings could not reach all the farmers. He called on the Federal Government to rescue the community by providing seedlings and relief materials to assist the inhabitants in agricultural activities.
Another farmer, Peter Oyaka, said he lost both crops and economic trees to the flood. He expressed regrets that relief materials did not get to some farmers and appealed to government to come to their assistance. "There is no hope for the planting season because our seedlings were washed away and we thought we were going to get improved seeds from the government. We heard of the relief funds but it did not reach the real farmers because what was meant for us were diverted. It is very appalling and disheartening and I have been crying every day since the floods, hoping I can meet President Goodluck Jonathan to tell him the plight of farmers here," Mr. Oyaka, also a pastor at Grace of God Mission at Enweli, said. Lilian Amabi, a farmer at Unale, said that her family escaped being wiped out at the farm settlement when their house collapsed. "Government said we should not take anything but now we have returned to nothing. How can we survive the hardship if government does not help us?" she demanded.