The Nigerian Navy says it is providing security and ferrying stranded commutters across the flooded East-West Road linking Port Harcourt in Rivers State and Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.
Sub-Lieutenant Tochukwu Okeke, the Base Information Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) SOROH, a unit of Central Naval Command, who made the disclosure said in an interview on Sunday, October 23, 2022, said that the navy had been ferrying people and goods from flooded spots between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt, and deployed medical personnel to care for those in need.
The Base spokesman added that the operation was being coordinated by the Commander of NNS SOROH, Commodore Sunday Daniel-Atakpa.
“As directed by Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command and under the strategic directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff to deploy men and materials to bring this hardship to the barest minimum.
“Under the directive of my Commander, this operation will continue until the flood recedes, this operation is not stopping, we will continue to deploy men and materials to render help and humanitarian needs to Nigerians because we are here for them.
“The motto of the Navy is ‘Onward Together’. So we are moving with everybody.
“We are informed of the hardship persons are facing here, the flood is unprecedented. On Friday, we got reports that five persons lost their lives, that’s to show you how devastating it is.
“We have been providing intervention in terms of humanitarian needs, we have been providing ferries from this Ahoada point down to that place where there is a ferry point.
“Basically, we have been providing ferries at flooded parts of the road from Bayelsa to Port Harcourt and Port Harcourt back to Bayelsa. We have also been providing medicare for persons,” he added.
According to him, the navy operation which had lasted about one week, also prioritises vulnerable people such as the sick, aged persons, nursing mothers and their infants, and help convey them to safer grounds.
Okeke however said that no casualty had been recorded since the naval interventions started.
He added that the nefarious activities of hoodlums who take advantage of the situation to rob travellers of their valuables and extort money from tipper drivers along the route, had been curbed.
The flood has cut off the East-West Road which connects states in the South-East and South-South to the South-Western part of the country.
The intervention of the navy will help commutters struggling for three weeks to navigate the flooded portions and continue with their journeys to and from Yenagoa, Ahoada, Omoku, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Uyo, Calabar and other cities.
Meanwhile, drivers of tipper trucks are making brisk business as they transport persons and goods such as foodstuffs, drinks and livestock across the flooded sections.
A commuter, Mrs Rita Ayaku, commended the Navy for the intervention, saying it has eased the hardship faced by people affected by the flood.
By Nathan Nwakamma