by Stanley Azuakola
Floods are ravaging several parts of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, displacing hundreds of people. Lokoja isn’t the only affected place; several communities along the bank of the River Niger in Ibaji, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Idah and Omala Local Government Areas were also affected.
According to the Kogi commissioner for environment, Abdulrahman Wuya, the flooding resulted from the overflow of River Niger.
Wuya, who spoke on Friday in Lokoja, said that many houses in Sarki Numa, Ganaja, Natako, Gadumo, Adankolo, Poroka, Kinami, Egan, Jamata, Edeyo Budon and Kpata areas of Lokoja, the state capital have been submerged in water.
The good news according to Mr. Wuya and the state Chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Mustafa Allah-Dey, was that no single death was recorded in the incident.
To help manage the situation, the commissioner said that all local government councils have been directed to immediately convert public places such as schools to temporary accommodation for the displaced persons. He assured that the state government would provide some facilities at the camps to ameliorate the condition of the victims.
A Premium Times report quoted Mr. Wuya as saying that “the National Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Abuja had been contacted and the agency has been directed to visit and assess the extent of damage to property in the affected communities.”
He advised those living in houses along the river’s bank to vacate immediately, as a fresh signal has indicated that more flooding might occur.
Mr., Allah-Dey hinted that the Red Cross has already deployed some officials to the affected communities to put the residents on red alert.
He said that relevant stakeholders such as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Police, FRSC, Fire Service and the National Youth Council of Nigeria had been contacted for assistance in the event of any emergency.
“The water from the river can burst anytime from now. It can come anytime of the day,” he said.
The Red Cross leader said traditional rulers are being engaged to sensitise the people on the dangers posed by the development.
He warned the people living in houses along the river bank to move out in their own interest, advising them to think of their safety.
“Don’t take chances; it will come finally, go somewhere else for your safety,” Mr. Allah-Dey said.