By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Following over eight hours of torrential rainfall last weekend, four persons have lost their lives and twenty three villages in Lapai council area of Niger State have been submerged by flood water.
Several acres of farmlands with food and cash crops as well livestock worth several hundreds of thousands of naira were washed away.
Some of the affected villages are Cheku, Lambata kwaran, Cheppa, Alaba, Bina and Muye. Others are Ebbo, Egba, Gagbe, Tanna, Bazhi and Yelwa.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello while on a sympathy visit to the victims, appealed to the federal government for urgent assistance to mitigate the sufferings brought about by the incidence.
While commiserating with the villagers, Governor Bello said “ecological devastation such as flood and related challenges bring on their heels enormous economic loss and hardship beyond what a state could handle.
He therefore called for the quick intervention by the federal government.
The Governor revealed that already eight local government areas in the state have been ravaged by flood. The affected councils include Lapai, Shiroro, Muyan, Gurara, Bida, Lavun, Wushishi, Mokwa and Borgu.
He said tackling the menace of flood in the affected councils was a huge burden beyond the financial capability of the state government, hence the request for assistance from the federal government.
The Governor said hundreds of the affected communities were facing lots of challenges ranging from health, hunger, loss of means of livelihood, as the flood water have submerged farm lands, homes, public schools, places of worship, roads and bridges.
“Solution to the ecological devastation is beyond the state government. I have spoken to the President about our challenges and the need for federal government intervention. I am still going to reach out to the federal government for intervention in tackling future reoccurrence”. He said while the state awaits any assistance from the federal government, the state government will soon bring it’s meagre relief assistance to the affected communities. “We will give our assistance despite our lean resources to reduce the hardship of our people”.
He assured that the State Emergency Management Agency will come to the aid of the affected communities very soon.
The Governor used the opportunity to re-echoe the agitation for the takeoff of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Area Development Commission, (HYPPADEC) to redress issues emanating from such ecological devastation and provide holistic solution to the perennial flooding of communities downstream of the hydroelectric dams in the state.
While at Muye town, the Governor directed the Lapai Local Government Chairman, Hon. Usman Achitupa to ensure that people living in the coastal areas of the River Gurara were relocated to the upland areas to avoid further flood disaster from the over flowing river.
The Emir of Lapai, Alhaji Bago Tafida who received the Governor, commended him for the prompt response to the distress call. He noted that the visit to the affected communities to sympathize with them was a great psychological relief to the affected flooded communities.
It would be recalled that the National Meteorological Department had last two months issued early warning signals to twenty three states to prepare for the massive flooding this year.
Equally, authorities at the nation’s three hydro electric dams had issued out red alerts to communities loving downstream of the Rivers Niger and Kaduna to relocate away from the floodplains.