Friday, November 22, 2019
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Tackling Flood Disasters

The rainy season that is coming to an end brought in its wake floods that wreaked great havoc in  many states and communities across the country. As a result properties, farmlands and economic trees were destroyed. It is sadly becoming a yearly  challenge in the country. In Sokoto, thousands of hectares of rice  farmlands were destroyed and  farmers so affected have been appealing   for government’s intervention. Apart from Sokoto,  Adamawa, Niger, Delta, Kogi, Zamfara,Lagos  and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT]  and several other states were also devastated  by flood-related disasters.  Another state that flood wreaked havoc recently  is Benue  where by last week alone, more than 100,000 persons in various communities including Makurdi, the state’s capital  were displaced and properties worth billions of Naira were destroyed as a result of flood caused by  heavy rainfall. The torrential rainfall which lasted three days commenced last Sunday night and continued the following day and did not stop until  Tuesday. Some of the affected areas in the state’s capital were Wurukum, Wadata, Idye and Gboko local government. We are  calling on the federal government, the state’s governments and relevant agencies to address problems associated with flooding in the country. Apart from climatic change caused by the depletion of ozone layers, the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon has also been affecting flooding in Nigeria. As a result of overflowing water in the dam’s reservoir, the authorities are forced to open the dam to allow passage for water and as a result Nigeria suffers the consequence with its two principal  rivers, Niger and Benue, overflowing their banks. The riverine communities suffer untoward effects as a result. It is on this account that we welcome the call by  the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom on ways of addressing this seasonal problem.Following recurring flooding in some quarters of  Makurdi metropolis, Gov. Ortom is reminding  the federal government to redeem its promise to dredge the river Benue.Governor Ortom said dredging of the river Benue remains  the only permanent solution against recurring flood in the State .He   made the call when he inspected some communities and residences including Kucha Utebe on Gboko road, Rice Mill in Wadata among other areas affected by the recent  flooding. The state’s chief executive  said it has become obvious that the perennial flooding was not just as a result of heavy rain fall but because of the shallow depth of the river which cannot contain the water volume.

He said  that since  River Benue is now  shallow , whenever  there is excess rainfall or  release of water from the Ladgo Dam in Cameroon, the Nigerian section of the river  overflows  its bank especially during heavy rainfalls with devastating effects on the riverine areas.

He postulated that  if the river was deep enough, flooding will  be checked or minimised. He described the present situation   as  unfortunate , especially in view of the fact that  hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced from their homes.Ortom who decried that he was overwhelmed by number of humanitarian disasters noted that, camps will be opened for the displaced if the water level continue to increase.

“We are just trying to get over with herdsmen attacks, some of the IDPs have returned home, but if this continues, we will have no options than to open another camp for this people to live in,” the governor lamented.

The governor wondered why a contract to dredge the river Benue which was awarded by previous administrations has not been executed, expressing hope that the  federal government will address the issue.The governor’s call could not have come at a better time than now. We wish to appeal for the dredging of the nation’s two main rivers, Niger and Benue as a way of checking and minimizing flooding in the country. We equally wonder why  contracts awarded for the deepening of the two rivers  by previous administrations have not seen the execution of the projects. We are calling on the federal government to inquire into these contracts and take necessary actions to bring those culpable to book, and to ensure that the dredging of these rivers is carried out, without further delay.

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