Lokoja flood or Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi
Shola Oyeyipo and Dele Ogbodo
The Presidential Committee on Flooding recently constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan has visited Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, and other parts of the state to assess damages caused by flooding.
The 21-member committee comprises representatives of the United Nations, National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Red Cross and other foreign agencies.
Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, NEMA, Dr. Charles Agbo, who led the team to the state yesterday, described the flood in the state as “the worst in the last 29 years.” He attributed the situation to heavy rainfall in Niger and Cameroon, which resulted in the release of 30 per cent of the water in the Kainji and Shiroro dams.
To meet the challenge of relocating residents of flooded communities, Senate President David Mark, at the weekend, urged the federal government to provide an intervention fund for states that are affected by flood.
Mark disclosed this in a statement by his media assistant, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, after visiting the flood prone areas of Kabawa and Ganaja, in Lokoja, where he donated N500, 000, to victims of flood who were sheltered in a primary school.
The leader of the presidential team assured the flood victims in Kogi Statet that the federal government would provide support and relief materials to cushion the effect of the flood. He commended the state government for providing relief for the victims, saying, however, that flooding is natural “a cycle in the life of the people.”
He encouraged the state government to find ways to improve its urban renewal scheme, which he said will discourage people from building on water channels.
The flood ravaged almost half of Lokoja. Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi who received the presidential team on behalf of the governor, Captain Idris Wada, commended the federal government for its interest in helping the people in the state affected by the flooding of rivers Niger and Benue.
Mark said the effect of the flood was devastating but expressed joy that the casualties in the state were minimal.