By Laleye Dipo
Not less than 150 communities in Niger State are now under water as a result of flood, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has disclosed.
The governor also said that 20 of the 25 local government areas are affected by the flood occasioned by heavy rains this year.
The governor also blamed the development on the opening of the spillway gates of the Kainji Dam, which he said was spilling over 6,000 metric litres of water every second in addition to similar development by two other dams Shiroro and Jebba, the first of such action in the history of the state.
Bello also said that the N80 billion investment by Sunti Sugar Company in the state has been washed away by flood leading to several hundreds of farmers and staff of the company jobless.
The governor, who exchanged views with newsmen in Minna on Tuesday, said the magnitude of the disaster is now beyond the capability of the government and therefore called for intervention from the federal government and international agencies.
According to him, the disclosure was the outcome of four different committees he sent round the state to assess the extent of the flood, pointing out that some people are reported to have died as a result of the incidents.
“We have been crying out but no one appears to be listening to us,” Bello said.
He therefore suggested the establishment of a Special Intervention Fund to support the state in addition to asking the federal government to make the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission a reality, adding that he has already started consulting the governors of Kwara, Kebbi, and Kogi States on how to ensure the immediate takeoff of the commission.
On electricity supply to communities in the state, Bello blamed the Discos for the problem consumers are facing, saying that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) despite support from the government, which included granting the company loan, has failed to provide meters to consumers and instead continues to give estimated bills to the people.
“The AEDC says people are refusing to pay for electricity consumed but I say they are not refusing to pay because they cannot pay for what they did not consume,” he said.
Governor Bello said it was out of respect for some federal government officials that he allowed articulated vehicles to start plying some roads in the state, adding that: “If the federal government does not honour its part of the bargain, I will shut down the roads and let heaven fall.”