An overnight flood has submerged no fewer than 500 houses and properties worth several millions of naira in parts of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
Residents of Adankolo community and other neighbouring communities woke up to see their houses submerged in water as a result of the overflow of the Niger River.
Residents of Agbayi Quarters and victims of other communities off Ganaja Road, were seen trying to evacuate their belongings from the submerged houses.
A 65-year-old woman, Nana Amina, decried government’s attitude towards the victims.
“Nobody should come here and video my properties. This is the same way some people came during the last flood incident and took pictures of our houses and went to collect money with it without getting back to us,” she said.
She however pleaded with the government to come to their aid as they have no place to keep their belongings.
Tricycle (Keke Napep) operators were seen moving properties out of the flooded houses as people resorted to using canoes to access their houses.
Worship centers were not left out as over 20 churches and mosques were affected. Affected worship centers have been deserted and some are already using makeshift centres.
Residents and victims urged government agencies to come to their rescue.
Aminu Suleiman said; “It’s a very bad condition. I’m planning to move my property to my friend’s house to see if I can manage with them if they can give me a room to stay.”
Another victim, Mohammed Adamu, said they didn’t expect any flood as it came to them as a surprise. He said; “It has not been easy for all of us in this area, this is a mess, we didn’t experience anything like this last year but this year, we have been packing our things and we are tired. We want government to do something to save us from this situation.’
The state commissioner for environment and natural resources, Hon. Victor Omofaiye, said government’s effort to cushion the effect of the flooding was yielding the desired results.
He said; “We have activities that are segmented and the first segment has to do with sensitisation and carrying out awareness campaigns. We have gone round the flood-prone areas to tell the people that once there is an occurrence, they should move to a higher ground but it’s quite unfortunate that some people will not relocate and they will be telling you that they can’t move out of their ancestral homes.”
Omofaiye added; “Some people will deliberately build houses on the waterways or the bank of the river not minding the dangers associated with blocking the waterways.”
The commissioner maintained that several IDP camps had been provided while hostels that can accommodate thousands of people had been prepared but most victims were not making use of the camps despite the fact that enough provision was made for their safety and security.
He added that government would not stop at nothing to continue to protect the lives and property of residents and citizens. He said a project though not completed was reducing the effect of the flood.
Recall that thirteen states of the federation had been advised by the Federal Government to be on red alert against flooding.
The Federal Government through Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) gave the advice in a press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.
Clement Onyeaso Nze, the Director General of NIHSA, Clement Onyeaso who issued the alert, highlighted states to experience flooding which include, Kogi, Kebbi, Niger, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross Rivers, Rivers and Bayelsa.
The DG stated that the Lagdo Dam have commenced release of water, adding that it is responsible for increase of the volume of water in River Benue and other connected rivers.
“We want to inform the State Governors, general public and stakeholders alike that the situation at the country’s inland resenvoirs (Kainji.Jebba, and Shiroro) and the Lagdo dam, present a likelihood of river flooding between now and October ending: hence, the need to put in place adequate measures and enhanced preparedness to mitigate any eventual flooding, particularly, in all the states and communities that are on the main course of rivers Niger and Benue Systems, namely: Kebbi, Niger, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross Rivers, Rivers and Bayelsa.
“We have been reliably informed by the Cameroonian Authorities that the management of Lagdo Dam commenced eguiared water releases from the Lagdo Reservoir from the morning of Tuesday, September 13, 2022, this will be a continuous process till the inflow into the Lagdo Reservoir recedes.
The water releases from Lagdo dam contributed to the increase in the volume of flow of River Benue and its tributaries (such as River Faro and Mayo Yelwa) which in turn contributed to the recent flooding in some parts of Wuroboki, Yolo, Jimeta, Numan and Madagali in Adamawa State.