State governments in the North-central region of Nigeria are employing measures to halt the perennial flooding ravaging parts of the zone and alleviate the sufferings of the victims.
Newsmen report that torrential rains accompanied by strong winds have in recent weeks claimed many lives, destroyed hundreds of houses and washed away farmlands and domestic animals in the sub-region.
The catastrophe compelled the governments in the zone to take steps to avert further flooding and provide succour to the affected people such as temporary shelters, food and medicines.
In Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule ordered the immediate evacuation of persons whose houses had been submerged by flood in Nasarawa, headquarters of Nasarawa Local Government Area.
Mr Sule also directed that foodstuff, mattresses and other relief items be provided to the victims immediately.
His spokesperson, Ibrahim Addra, said the governor had visited the ancient town and sympathised with the people over the incident.
He urged the people to desist from erecting structures on waterways and stop indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drains.
In response to the governor’s directive, the Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) distributed food and non-food relief materials to over 45 communities ravaged by flood in Awe and Nasarawa local government areas of the state.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Zakari Allumagas, said the governor gave the order during his visit to Nasarawa following the flood in the town.
Allumagas said the relief materials comprised 44 trucks of 600 bags each of assorted grains and three trucks of non-food items such as building materials, children’s clothing, cooking utensils and mats.
He warned against diversion of the items.
He also disclosed that over 700 households were displaced by floods in such communities as Ara, Udenyi Magaji, Ugya and Gude, Nasarawa town in Nasarawa Local Government Area, and Ribi and Gidan Soja in Awe Local Government Area.
The executive secretary said the state government was working with traditional and community leaders to come up with a directive banning approval and sale of lands near riverine areas of the state.
In Kogi, the State Commissioner for Environment, Victor Omofaiye, said many communities in some local government areas in the state had been ravaged by floods.
Omofaiye said such communities included places in Kotonkarfe, Lokoja, Ajaokuta and Ibaji local government areas.
He said some victims of the disaster had already been moved to IDPs camps in Kotonkarfe, while the IDPs camps and flood estates in Lokoja were being prepared through clearing of their surroundings and fumigation for resettlement of the flood victims.
He said that the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had predicted that in 2020, about 10 local government areas would be affected by flood in Kogi.
They are Lokoja, Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Ajaokuta, Bassa, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela, Ofu, Adavi and Omala.
”The water level of River Niger is still fluctuating within the range of 10.5 to 10.7, but as at September 21, it was 10.7 compared to the 12.5 as at the same period in 2012 in Kogi.
”Flood is a menace that we experience in Kogi every year. The flood we experienced in Kogi in 2012 was massive and devastating; we do not pray for such in 2020, but we are actually on red alert,’’ the commissioner said.
He attributed flooding in the state to human and natural factors.
According to him, the human factor has to do with the people’s habit in managing the environment as they dump refuse on waterways and drains, thereby obstructing free flow of water.
Mr Omofaiye said that the confluence of two major rivers in Kogi: River Niger and Benue, which most times overflowed their banks, was affecting communities along the river paths, including those of other small rivers that took their sources from river Niger and Benue.
”Opening of dams, especially along River Niger, such as Lagdo Dam from Cameroon and other dams also cause flooding in Kogi due to high volume of water.
”We have done a lot of sensitisation and awareness creation to educate the general public, especially the people living in the flood prone areas in all the predicted local government areas.
”We are also partnering with the relevant stakeholders including SEMA to ensure that we are ahead of any emerging situation,” he said.
He said he had led a team on assessment tour of some affected communities in Lokoja to ascertain the level of damage done by flood in the area and begin to tackle them head on.
The commissioner said the Governor Yahaya Bello administration would not relent in its efforts at tackling environmental challenges including flooding across the state.
He, therefore, advised the people living in the flood prone areas to relocate and move to high grounds in order not to endanger their lives as a result of floods.
The situation is similar in Plateau as the acting Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Rose Dakwar, said that floods had affected seven local government areas in the state recently.
Dakwar listed the affected local government areas as Mangu, Pankshin, Shendam, Quan Pan, Langtang South, Mikang and Wase.
She said that many farmlands, houses bridges and other valuables were destroyed by the floods in the listed areas.
“We as an emergency management agency, have already visited each of the affected local government areas in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“We visited and ascertained the level of damage and reported back to government.
“Government has, therefore, included the affected areas in the distribution of palliatives before the major assistance will come their way,” she said.
Also, the NEMA Zonal Coordinator in Jos, Eugene Nyenlong, said the agency had composed jingles in local languages to educate the people on how to tackle floods if they occurred.
Mr Nyenlong also disclosed that the agency in the zone was making use of Flood Vanguards comprising youth corps members who raised alarms if flood occurred.
“We also have locals that are engaged to act in terms of response and evacuation when flood occurs,” he said.
In Niger, not less than 500 communities have been flooded since the onset of the 2020 raining season in the state.
The Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Ahmed Inga, who disclosed this also said about 22 local government areas had so far been affected by the floods.
Inga said 29 deaths were recorded during the floods, while 45,000 farmers were directly affected by the disaster.
“Farmlands and houses have been destroyed and assessment is still ongoing, ” he said.
He said Governor Abubakar Bello had directed the agency to look inward and design a better way of mitigating the situation by relocating the affected communities to safe areas.
He said that the state government had identified 13 resettlement sites in Muregi, Akere and Ketso, among others, where the affected communities were being resettled.
He said that compensations had been paid and allocation of plots to the affected communities would soon commence.
The director-general blamed the flooding partly on the situation where the state was home to three hydro-electric dams – Shiroro, Kainji and Jebba, and River Niger and River Kaduna flowing across parts of the state.
Similarly, the Benue Government has assured residents of flood prone areas of its plans to tackle the incessant flooding in communities in the state.
The State Director of Environment, Richarge Azaagee, who disclosed this, said plans were underway to address some of the flooding challenges, especially in Makurdi.
Mr Azaagee denied that the government had abandoned communities suffering from flood related challenges.
He said the government had already identified the causes of flooding in some communities/settlements and was working toward fixing them.
“The problem of erosion and flood is not just in Kaamem community alone, it cuts across many communities in Makurdi and the state at large.
Newsmen report that places badly hit by flood in Makurdi are Agber village, Behind ITF Makurdi, Wurukum market, part of Judges Quarters, Low Level, Down Katsina-Ala Street, Kaamem community, Achussah village, and Nyiman village amongst others.