No fewer than 200 communities have been submerged by flood in Kogi/Koton-karfe local government area of Kogi State. With the communities already washed away by ravaging flood that has displaced thousands of residents in the communities, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday made a passionate appeal to the federal government and public spirited individuals to come to the aide of the state, in the effort to assuage the plight of victims of the natural disaster. Kogi, being a confluence of Nigeria’s two main rivers- River Niger and River Benue-is always one of the most affected states whenever there is flooding, which explains why the state was worst hit during the flood disaster in 2012. LEADERSHIP recalls that the Kogi State government had last month set up five camps to accommodate about 64 of the communities displaced by flood in Koton-karfe last month. This week, the state government further set up temporary camps for victims of flood in Lokoja, as more houses get submerged in the confluence state.
Addressing journalists in Government House, Lokoja yesterday, Governor Bello said after visiting the communities ravaged by the flood and seeing the humanitarian crisis created by the disaster, he is compelled to cry out for help to cushion the effect of the mishap as well as providing succour for the victims.
According to Governor Bello, “the state government has overstretched its resources in the wake of the misfortune”, even as he noted that 10 out of 25 local governments in the state have been submerged by the flood. While commending the collaboration of the Navy, Police, Civil Defence and other relevant agencies in the rescue operations, he urged people living on the flood plains to relocate to safer grounds. Governor Bello assured that every intervention coming to the state will be effectively and judiciously used.
On the efforts made by the state so far, Bello noted that on its part, the state government has created relief camps in the affected areas to provide temporary shelter for the victims, in addition to food, Medicare and other logistics. “We are already collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that relief materials and other essential facilities are provided in the camps”, he stated.
Expressing worry about a recent alert that more water would be released from Kainji and Shiriro dams, as well as Ladgo dam in Cameroon, the governor lamented that if it turn out to be a reality, it will worsen the situation for the state as it grapples with the disaster.
In a similar development, the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Nasir Ajanah, has said the submerged Koton-Karfe High Court complex will be relocated to avoid the perennial flooding and the attendant challenges in the administration of justice. Ajanah who disclosed this in Kotonkarfe, headquarters of KKF local government during an on-the-spot assessment of the extent of damage on the submerged court complex yesterday said relocation has become a compelling imperative to arrest the perennial breaks in the administration of criminal justice in the area.
“The busiest prison yard in the state is located in this town. Kotokarfe. So, it is imperative that we relocate the court from here to another location within the town. That is the most important thing to do now because this is a very busy place”, he said. Ajanah said the cost of putting up a new complex for the High Court and the Chief Magistrate Court in Koton-Karfe would be included in the state supplementary budget, even as he hoped that it would be approved and released.The Chief Judge who took time to visit the Ohimege of Koton-Karfe, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isah-Koto, in his palace reiterated the need to relocate the court, just as he appealed to the traditional ruler to allocate another land for the construction of a new complex.
He said that it was the community that allocated the land for the submerged complex without knowing that the area was prone to flood.
Responding, the paramount ruler expressed regret over the unfortunate hiccups arising from the natural disaster and promised that land would be sought and allocated within the next one week.Isah-Koto however appealed to the Chief Judge to establish smaller courts especially around the new Medium Security Prison for quick dispensation of criminal justice.
…Another 100 Communities Submerged In Niger State
Similarly, over 100 communities have been submerged by flood in Niger State. The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello, who confirmed this during a tour for an aerial view of flood-affected communities along River Niger flood plain, said resettlement of the communities is the permanent solution. Most of the communities are in Mokwa, Lavun, Edati, Katcha, Agaie and Lapai local government areas, all in Niger South senatorial district of the state.The governor, who conducted the aerial view yesterday in Muye, the terminal point bordering Kogi State, said the estimated 100 communities have been sacked and submerged by flood from the tributaries of Rivers Niger and Kaduna. While noting that the situation has gone beyond the capacity of the state, Governor Sani-Bello called for federal government’s intervention saying, “What I saw today is very devastating”. He stated: “On a rough estimate more than a 100 communities have been submerged in water and it doesn’t appear that water is receding.
“We have not seen the end of it; it is very disturbing. The situation is definitely getting out of hand and it is beyond what the state can do.“This flood starts all the way from Kede, towards Muregi and down to Muye along the river bank. So definitely, at this point, we will have to seek for the support of the federal government and that is exactly what we are going to do.
“The first step taken by the state government was to send some relief materials to the affected communities because I strongly believe they will lack food at this time and the final step and probably the lasting solution is to relocate them at some point, but now we have to take care of their immediate needs with regards to food and drugs”.
Recently, the governor had directed the release of N60million for provision of relief materials when some affected communities visited him but then about 33 communities were estimated.
With the level of water increasing everyday, he said, “The situation is a tough one because we have experienced this before. We have tried to convince the communities to move out of waterways but somehow it has been extremely difficult.
“They see these places as their ancestral homes but we have to continue to communicate with them on the dangers they put themselves into. The lasting solution would be to relocate them. What we will do for now is to provide maximum support to them.”
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