Flood Alert: We Have No Place To Go – Kogi Residents

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Recently, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) issued a flood alert in at least 13 states across the country. But residents of the flood-prone areas said they had not relocated because there’s no place to go. What are these states doing to avert possible disaster?

Following the red alert issued by NIMET, apprehension has heightened amongst dwellers of flood-prone communities in Kogi State, given the continuous rise of water level at the Niger River. The state also witnessed devastating flood in 2012, where a lot of lives and property worth millions of naira were lost.

Amongst the local government areas prone to flood are Ajaokuta, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji, Ofu, Kogi-Kotonkarfe, Lokoja, Omala and Igalamela-Odolu.
At the last count, the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (KSEMA) said the water level had risen to 7.45m, noting that the dangerous/red alert level is 9m.
Although the Kogi State government constructed 272 post flood housing units after the 2012 flood disaster to provide alternative shelter for victims, there are concerns that the housing estate has been hijacked and occupied by people who were not affected.
With threats of impending flood this year, inhabitants along the River Niger have called on the state government to evict illegal occupants in the estate to enable them move in.
A resident of Adankolo, along the bank of River Niger, Mr. Abdulrahman Salihu, said they were disturbed about the rising water level, especially considering the recent flood alert issued by NIMET.
He said government should provide alternative places where people could relocate for safety, adding that it is not enough for government to ask people to move to another location at a time when they are battling with economic downturn.
Meanwhile, the Kogi State government said efforts were ongoing to create temporary camps across 9 local government areas where those likely to be affected by the impending flood can relocate to.
The executive secretary of  KSEMA, Ayegba Alhassan, told Daily Trust on Sunday that sensitisation campaigns were being carried out across the flood-prone communities on the need for residents to relocate to higher grounds.
“Presently, the water level is about 7.45m and the red alert level is 9m. We have not yet reached that level, but the fear is that it can increase suddenly, depending on the release of water from other dams, such as the Lagdo dam in Cameroon. That could swell the water level within a twinkle of an eye.
“It is not good to create camps for them in schools every year. Remember that in 2012 we had a very bad experience when the displaced persons refused to vacate the primary schools they occupied.
“With that experience, government said it’s not proper to ask them to move to such facilities. On that note, we are preparing for camps that would house them temporarily,” he said.
He said government was taking the statistics of the population of the vulnerable communities to enable it plan well for their relocation.
Alhassan, who acknowledged the receipt of complaints over illegal occupants at the post-flood housing estate in Lokoja, however, assured that government would take the necessary action to ensure that the houses are allocated to the right people.
Credits: /Daily Trust

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