At least four people are now missing and hundreds of communities sacked in the torrential floods that have submerged parts of Kogi state for days, emergency officials said Friday.
The floods triggered an emergency after taking over parts of the Abuja-Lokoja expressway leaving thousands of travelers stranded for days.
Reports said the road was reopened late Thursday after remedial works by three construction firms; but those claims were denied by the Federal Road Safety Corp, FRSC, which tweeted on Friday about rising water levels.
The Kogi State Emergency Management Agency said 800 hectares of farmland and 450 communities in nine local government areas have been inundated by the flood waters.
So far, the affected local government zones include – Idah, Ibaji, Igalamele/Odolu,Ofu, Bassa, Lokoja, Ajaokuta, Omala and Kogi.
The government said properties worth billions of naira have been lost in the overflow that has since assumed a “humanitarian crises dimension.”
“Though we cannot ascertain the actual damage done to buildings until the flood is over, but what we have lost will run into billions for now,” Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, said.
The impact of the flood on buildings and other infrastructures in the state was “colossal”, he added.
Mr. Awoniyi assured victims of the flood sheltering in relief camps across the state of equitable distribution of relief materials.
“I assure you that every material meant for the displaced, will get to them,” he said.
But some residents of the affected communities have criticized the government’s intervention.
“It is a terrible situation in Ibaji,” Dickson Omaye, a resident whose family house was submerged in the flood told PREMIUM TIMES. “No single soul is left in Ibaji.”
Also, rescue workers in relief camps have complained of insufficient aid items.
Environment Minister, Hadiza Mailafia, said on Wednesday the federal government could not do more than it was currently doing to lessen the sufferings of victims in various states of the federation.
Critics say the remarks make the government appear bereft of ideas on how to handle the crises.
While for instance the government has asked two construction companies, Julius Berger and RCC to free Lokoja-Abuja Road from flooding, it has not communicated any clear conflict management strategy, they say.
Mr. Awoniyi said in future, construction of residential apartments along water ways would no longer be allowed, while those already existing would be demolished.
With agency report