Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello yesterday disclosed that over 10,000 people have been displaced in the state as a result of the flooding in several communities.
He made this known when he visited some affected areas in the state and also paid a visit to internally displaced persons’ camps across the state. Bello, who stated that anytime there is heavy downpour, the Rivers Niger and Benue always overflow their boundaries, noted that the impact on the state where Nigeria’s two major rivers meet is significant on the people.
He added that many communities, notably, Ibaji, Ajaokuta, IgalaMela/Odolu, Bassa, Koton-Karfi and Lokoja were badly affected.
The governor called on the federal authorities to come to the aid of Kogi State, saying: “The state is in dire need of humanitarian interventions.”
He stressed that thousands of houses had been submerged by floods in some flood plains in Lokoja and Ibaji, describing the situation as “desperately pathetic”.
“The Kogi State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has been stretched to the limit. The state government is providing immediate interventions within its financial capacity, but what government has been able to do is grossly inadequate.
“Apart from Nataco, Sarkin Numa, Ganaja and other areas in Lokoja where floods have taken over communities, the fury of the flood in Ibaji has completely sacked people from their homes and farmlands.
“Some people are climbing trees to survive. There is urgent need to relocate the affected people and settle them in camps.
“We call on the National Emergency Management Agency to quickly come to our aid. The State already has a situation room under the leadership of the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources to collate the realities on ground.
“What we have at the moment is of frightening enormity that requires urgent attention. Government has all the information that will be required by NEMA, the situation is getting worse by the day.
“As the center of the nation, a locked-in Kogi will affect the entire nation. Roads have been taken over, people now sleep on the streets and nursing mothers are gory sights to behold.
“We call on federal agencies and the international community to quickly come to our aid,” the governor said.
He urged people still living in flooded homes to vacate them, saying it was unsafe to reside in flooded apartments.