Several weeks after LEADERSHIP SUNDAY’s investigations revealed that governors in the North were doing nothing to avert the disaster floods may bring this rainy season, following repeated flooding alaerts by the meteorological department of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), we can authoritatively report that many of the governors appear to be paying deaf ears to the warning.
Barely two days after LEADERSHIP SUNDAY’s investigation, a major flooding disaster occurred in some parts of the north, killing scores and rendering hundreds homeless. Since then, rains have caused major floods, sweeping away hectares of farmlands.
Our correspondents who went round the northern states to ascertain the level of efforts put in place to combat the threat, report that while some of the governors were making efforts to address the problem, others are doing nothing.
In Gusua, Zamfara State, investigations revealed that people still remained adamant over the warning by the NEMA and other related agencies that flood disasters could occur this year in some north-western states. Residents of Tudun Wada, especially behind Gusau hotel, within the Gusau metroplis, during the filing of this report, lived in structures erected along water channels.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY further learnt that the sky-rocketing of the prices of the vegetable items in the markets might may not be unconnected with the occurence of flood in some northern states. For instance, the price of a medium-sized basket of tomato few weeks back ranged between N2,000 and N3,000, just as it now rose from N7,500 to N8,000, same with that of onion.
The permanent secretary, Zamfara State ministry of enviroment, Alhaji Umaru Hamisu, has said that his ministry had started dredging the clogged water channels and re-construction of new ones all over the state, especially in Gusau metropolis, amidst fears of another flood.
Hamisu further disclosed that though the new government was yet to adopt any new policy on flood prevention and control, the policies implemented by the past admistration were still being recognised.
Farmers in Borno State have expressed their fears about the menace, which has been an impediment to crops production with no practical solution in sight.
Over the years, flooding in some parts of the state have greatly affected the production of both staple and cash crops like maize, millet, guinea- corn, onions, groundnuts, pepper, and tomatoes, among others.
The scarcity of these products mainly attributed to the flooding of farmlands had led to the increase in the prices of food items across the state, a situation which the masses found difficult to cope with.
A farmer, Alhaji Laminu Bukar, also said that the flood have not only affected the production of onions in Borno State, but that of both staple and cash crops, and called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, do something urgent about flood control.
A market survey carried out by our correspondents showed that a bag of beans which used to sell for N4,000 now costs N6,000; a bag of maize now costs N5,000 instead of N3,000 while a bag of onion which used to go for N3,000 now cost N6,000.
The Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority (SRRDA) last week alerted the people living around areas that were ravaged by the flood last year when the Goronyo Dam in Goronyo local government area of the state overflowed its dam to, as a matter of urgency, evacuate the vicinity of the damaged dam.
In a statement by its public relation officer, Mr. Adamu Wagana, and made available to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY in Sokoto, the decision to give a prior warning through vigorous sensitisation exercise is to avert a reccurrence of the devastation experienced in the state and its environs last year.
Reports also revealed that hundreds of people were rendered homeless in Katsina State on Thursday after a major flood swept away homes and farmlands.
Although no deaths were reported, property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
Some of the affected areas included; Kofar-Marusa, Kofar-Sauri, Sabuwar-Unguwa and Katsina Cikin Gari, among others. However, areas like Daura, Maiadua, Funtua Bakori, Malumfashi and other area councils, recorded some form of flooding in recent weeks as a result of torrential rainfall.
But the state government informed one of our correspondents that the government had embarked on massive drainage-clearing in all the 34 local government areas of the state.
To ensure wide reach, the the state governor, Ibrahim Shema, ordered the council areas to recruit 17, 000 youths on casual basis to clear the drainages across the affected areas.
Shema also donated waste-clearing vehicles to the council areas and instructed that the recruited youths be led to clear major waterways within a four-week period.