As the rainy season intensifies, with torrential downpour that is sometimes accompanied by heavy storm, there is palpable tension across the country following the devastating effect of flood in some states of the federation.
Checks by LEADERSHIP Weekend showed that seven states have already suffered heavy loses from the flood, even as there are fears that more states will continue the natural disaster that has ravaged homes and farmlands.
Farmlands and residential buildings have been submerged in most of the states, just as several lives have been lost with property worth millions of naira destroyed, while hundreds of people are rendered homeless.
Apart from farmlands and building, major roads and bridges are cut off due to the flood that ravaged the states.
More worrisome is the fact that most of the identified states have yet to come to terms with the hazards ahead of what may happen in August and September in order to put certain measures in place to contain the devastating effect of the impending flood disaster.
Besides, it was also gathered that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which is the agency saddled with the responsibility of facilitating efforts to mitigate the effect and sensitise on flooding has yet to come up with clear-cut plans due to lack of funds to function effectively.
But the spokesperson of the agency, Sani Datti, told our correspondent yesterday that NEMA has responded to flood disaster such as the recent rainstorm in Katsina State that killed over 50 persons and destroyed about 500 houses.
Datti further noted that NEMA is planning a stakeholders’ meeting slated for August this year where issues regarding flood disaster would be discussed.
In Adamawa State, houses and farmlands have been submerged by flood in Saminaka, a suburb in Yola South local government area.
The flood, which followed rainfall on Thursday night, took residents by surprise, over flooding River Mayo-Inne banks and submerging parts of Jambutu area.
A resident of Jambutu, Chief Clement Ekong, lamented that the level of road rehabilitation in the area had diverted the water channels into residential areas, causing havoc on the people of the area anytime it rains.
Ekong urged government to expand the size of drainages in the area to accommodate the volume of water from Mayo-Inne River.
In Nasawara State, commuters traveling through Lafia- Akwanga federal highway were left stranded yesterday for over six hours, following the heavy rain that flooded the bridge at Shabu near Lafia.
The rain, which started in the early hours of yesterday, was still drizzling at the time of this report.
Most of the commuters appealed to the federal government to find solution to the situation, which they attributed to the narrow nature of the bridge at that portion of the road.
Mr Wilberforce Alaku, a businessman, said he was going to Abuja and had been stock for hours waiting for the flood to subside as the bridge had been completely submerged.
“This has never happened in this place, we want the government to build a better bridge or create a bypass to serve as alternative along this axis, in case of occurrences like this,” Alaku said.
Another commuter, Rev Steve Shama, described the situation as pathetic and called on the federal government to urgently address the situation, to avert the loss of man-hours caused by the flood.
He expressed concern that if the situation is not addressed urgently, the road stands the risk of being washed off with another heavy rain.
“As you can see I am going to Abuja for a very important assignment and I have been trapped here for over two hours no way to pass,” Shama added.
Similarly, Mr Joshua Musa, a driver, going to Jos, expressed shock over the incident, saying the risk of plying the route was very high.
“The current of water here can wash off houses not to talk of vehicles, hence I am appealing to the government to work on this portion of the road by constructing a bridge here,” he said.
Mohammed Abdukadir, a resident of Shabu, said that they had never witnessed such flood in the area and appealed for government’s urgent intervention.
“As a resident of Shabu, I have never seen such incident in this area and I am calling on the government to act quickly to avert further devastation and hardship for commuters along the road,” Abdulkadir said.
He also cautioned irrigation farmers in the area to desist from farming along the waterways to prevent blockage.
Meanwhile, when contacted Mr Taiwo Wasiu, federal controller of Works in charge of Nasarawa State, said he was away on an official assignment in Abuja.
He, however, said that he would reach out to his officers to assess the situation and proffer solution.
The director general of Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Ibrahim Inga, said yesterday that over 60 houses were affected by flood due to heavy rainfall on July 2 in Kontagora local government area of the state.
10 persons were confirmed dead and over 60 houses were destroyed by the rain in Rafin-Gora and Anguwan Gangare Saji in Kontagora local government area of the state.
Inga who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna said that the agency had carried out an assessment of the affected persons and a comprehensive report had been submitted to the state governor for relief materials.
He said that already, the governor had donated N5 million during a joint condolence visit by members of the state executive council and the legislature to victims.
Inga said the donation would cushion the effects of the disaster, pending when relief materials would come from the government.
The director general noted that government was concerned about the welfare of the people, especially those affected by disasters, adding that relief materials would soon be provided for the victims.
“I want to commend the governor for always ensuring prompt release of relief materials to victims of disasters and for ensuring that adequate measures are put in place to reduce disaster in the state, ‘’ he said.
Inga advised residents to avoid building structures on waterways and to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse on waterways.
The Kaduna State government yesterday called on residents to regularly keep the drains clean to avert flooding.
The Commissioner for Environment, Dyeris Sijuwade, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday said the incidence of flooding is a global phenomenon that is not peculiar to Kaduna.
“I urge residents to cooperate with the state government in its concerted effort to prevent flood by properly disposing their wastes in designated areas. They should also desist from dumping refuse into drains, as well as refrain from erecting structures along water ways and channels”, she said.
Sijuwade promised that the ministry would continue to ensure that major drains are clean at all times, while calling on residents to always do the needful.
According to her, Kaduna State since 2017 has taken proactive measures to check flooding in the state.
“In 2017, we embarked on construction of drains in the three Senatorial Zones in Kaduna metropolis, Zaria and Kafanchan to check flooding in those areas,” she said.
Sijuwade further highlighted that the government will continue “to embark on adaptive efforts to mitigate the global scourge of climate change.
“We have embarked on massive enlightenment campaign to sensitise residents on the need to ensure a clean and sustainable environment”, she added.
When asked if the state government will bring back the compulsory monthly environmental sanitation, she said “it was most unlikely.”
She said that cleaning of our environment should be a constant thing that should not be left for only monthly activities.
Osinbajo Orders Apapa Traffic Gridlock Cleared
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday directed the commencement of a 72-hour joint operation to restore order around Apapa and its environs following bad roads caused by rainfall and activities of truck drivers, which had caused traffic gridlock, making vehicular movement around the axis near impossible over the past few days.
Osinbajo who made an unscheduled stop at Apapa Port area yesterday afternoon for an on-the-spot assessment of the traffic gridlock directed authorities concerned to restore sanity on the express way.
He also ordered that Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) should speed up the decongestion of the port.
According to the vice president’s directive, the operation would be carried out by a collaborative efforts of the Police, Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Army, the Nigeria Air Force, FRSC, the NSCDC, LASTMA, LASEMA, Container truck drivers, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NUPENG and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria.
The VP who was flown in by a Nigerian Navy chopper in the company of Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and senior Naval and Police officers landed first at the Tin Can Island Park.
He walked close to the traffic to see the situation of things for himself and then proceeded to the Five Star Berth at the NPA where he met with relevant officials and security officers.
The plan, as contained in Osinbajo’s directive, is to within 72 hours take all the necessary and appropriate steps to restore order to the traffic situation and speed up work on the Port Decongestion.
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