…says lasting solution must be proffered to the yearly menace
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of National Disaster as a result of the ravaging effect of flood in Kogi and other affected states.
The governor in his Independent Day address on Saturday explained that such declaration would help to unlock the nation’s latent capabilities to respond more aggressively with more men, money and materials to the harrowing situation.
Governor Bello said “The President may wish to recall that he made such a declaration in response to the 2018 flooding – and the floods this year are projected to be much worse than anything we saw in 2018. Thus, while thanking His Excellency for what the federal agencies are already doing, I implore him to give us the help our people so desperately need at this time”.
He reported that the natural disaster has affected the nine (9) local government areas which were along the Rivers Niger and Benue, namely, Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji and Omala. The governor noted that Ibaji is almost 100% under water while the rest range from 30% up and other inland LGAs also have some degree of flooding from smaller rivers and tributaries.
While he acknowledged that the state had a serious and humanitarian tragedy to attend to, the Governor assured every person, family and community who has been affected that they were not alone and that help is coming. He stated that even before the flood his government had activated its early response systems to make sure that succor reaches those affected in a timely manner.
He narrated that flooding in Kogi State happens annually which unfortunately the people have gotten used to the ritual of devastation followed by inadequate palliatives, if any.
He said “As a leader, it is clear to me that I must make an attempt to break this vicious cycle, if not for all, then for as many victims as I can”, pointing out that he was considering proposals that promised permanent solutions.
Reeling out the numerous efforts which according to him have yielded varying degrees of success, he revealed that the most common sense and humane option left now was to clear human habitations and businesses from the banks of the Rivers Niger and Benue where possible adding that government would embark on clearing the lowlands along the entire flood-plains in the flood endemic LGAs which would allow the rivers unimpeded flow during their annual flooding.
In Lokoja, road shoulders along the banks of the River Niger from the entrance of the city in Natako would be widened in order to establish a sufficient buffer zone between the city and the river. Ganaja junction to Ganaja Village road has also been recently re-awarded to a more efficient contractor and we will see to it that when work commences efforts will be made to raise the road above the water levels, he mentioned.
The governor noted lowland communities affected by the planned clearance would be relocated to higher grounds and structures which fall into the designated work areas will have to make way. He however assured that the government would ensure proper resettlement and rehabilitation of those who would be affected adding that despite the huge burdens it would place of the already strained government’s resources would be money well-spent if it brings peace of mind to the people.
He opined that although such decision would have its own effects, but anything was preferable to the annual loss of lives and livelihood while assuring that his administration would continue to work for the wellbeing of the people and posterity in the state. He said that he was counting on the sacrifice and understanding of everyoneShare this on WhatsApp