Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
The victims of flood in Kogi State have appealed to both the federal and state governments to come to their aid, as the ravaging flood has destroyed their properties worth billions of naira, including houses and farmlands.
This is just as the state government claimed to have embarked on serious sensitisation in nine local government areas affected by the perennial flooding to save lives and property as well as avoid a repeat of 2012 flooding experienced in the state.
THISDAY investigations, however, revealed that no fewer than nine local areas of the state have been completely submerged by the devastating flood arising for increase in the volume of water from Rivers Niger and Benue, while properties worth billions of naira are already under the water, thereby subjecting all the communities along the riverine areas to socio -economic crises.
Some residents of Lokoja metropolis, especially those residing along river bank, are now gripped with fear as a result of the persistent increase of water level that led to the flooding of major areas in the state.
Kogi is one of the 22 states forecasted for red alert on flooding by NIMET in the 2020 rainy season, and the agency had severally warned through State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for residents along the river bank to relocate to high level areas.
Meanwhile, some landlords residing in flood prone areas have since begun to relocate as a result of the warning, while some have hardened their hearts envisaging that the flood might not get to their houses.
At Adankolo New Layout and Gaduma, the landlords are already lamenting their experience in the past few weeks. A landlord, Elder Makolo, narrated his ordeal, saying: “ It’s unfortunate that some of us did not have the foresight to stop building on where we have found ourselves today, and with this yearly routine of flooding, some of us have no other option than to cry out to the government to come to our rescue.”
It was gathered majority of the residents of Lokoja II constituency, which has been badly affected by flooding, have relocated to Muye in Niger State while others have moved to their families in the state capital, Lokoja.
The former Chairman of Ibaji Local Government Area of the state, Mr. David Ogwu, lamented that despite the persistent warnings by the NIMET, there was nothing on ground to assist the victims to mitigate their suffering, stressing that there was no known designated internally displaced persons (IDP) camp or palliatives for the affected people.
The former council boss pointed out that the farmers are already counting their losses as their means of livelihood-farms and produce-have been destroyed by the flood, adding that all attempt to protect farms proved abortive.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, told THISDAY in Lokoja that the state government has embarked on sensitisation to prevent causalities.
“Sensitisation is ongoing across the flood prone areas to make to people move away from the areas in order to avert casualties. We are also airing messages on the state radio to create awareness,” he stated.