Canoes throng highway and streets as floods ravage Lokoja


It’s not the best of times for the people of Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State. No thanks to the much-acclaimed phenomenon of global climate change. It has advertised its presence in the state since 2012, hitting the residents of Lokoja hard with floodwaters.

Ten years later, the deadly floods of the Niger River are back, wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of the capital with great intensity.

A National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) staff member, David Aigbe, who was on duty on the Ganaja-Lokoja highway where floodwaters cut the state off from the eastern flank, said the level flooding at its peak in 2012 was lower than the level recorded on September 30, 2022.

“In 2012, the Niger River peaked at 4.84m before receding. But as of Friday, September 30, 2022, the flood level had risen to 4.94 m. We must prepare for the worst; no sign that this water will recede in the next one or two weeks,” he said.

By Wednesday October 5, larger parts of Adankolo, Gadumo, Ganaja, Ikpata and Kabawa, including Sariki-Numa communities in Lokoja metropolis, had been flooded.

Locals said the flood waters at the Ganaja-Lokoja, Gadumo and Andakolo extension in Lokoja were deadly due to the fact that the areas are located directly at the confluence point of the Niger River and the Benue River.

Jubril Adebayo, a resident of Gadumo, said the turbulence of the rivers – the meeting point of the Niger and the Benue increases the flow of water in this area.

The same fear is fueled by the people of Kabawa as the water has started to rise towards the highlands in the regions.

As a result, thousands of residential homes, business centers or shops and offices were submerged and residents’ valuable possessions were destroyed.

At last count, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, including a branch of Living Faith Church in housing unit 200 and most structures, including factories in this area around the river bridge Even along the Lokoja-Ajaokuta road, were completely overwhelmed.

In addition, the Kogi State Assembly quarters in Gadumo-Lokoja on the same road were flooded, forcing lawmakers to relocate to a safer location in town.

The flood has also trashed two of Lokoja’s most popular markets – Kpata and Old Market, as traders have to move to the deserted IBB Main Drive Way as part of a makeshift arrangement, to display their wares for sale.

In the same vein, many alleys or roads in the city have been cut off, making it impossible to access these areas in Lokoja by car, motorbike or Keke Napep, except by canoe or motorboat.

Adankolo resident Ademu Yahaya, who said he has lived in the suburbs since birth, said many houses in the enclave collapsed as a result of flooding.

“The homes we worked for years to build are gone. By the time this flood recedes, many of us will have no home to rest. They will all have been swept away in the Niger River. Sad, so sad!” he said, almost shedding tears.

Most of the locals lamented the twist of fate that befell them, saying they did not understand why the Niger River decided to vent its anger on them in this way.

Like other residents of the flooded Lokoja area, Funso David said it was better to imagine this horrific event than to experience it in this difficult way.

He said this flood of water is a sad reminder that nature will always go its way no matter how one tries to cage it or control it to serve the desire of mankind.

“We now go to our homes to retrieve one thing or another from a canoe or a motorboat. A few weeks ago, who would have thought of that.

“The government has built a dyke on the Niger River to prevent it from overflowing its bank. This water still found a way out and sailed until it flooded the houses and cut off our roads. It’s a hard lesson that I have to learn in my life,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that the embankment on the bank of the Niger River at the Kpata and Kabawa end of the city was done to prevent flooding on the flank of the city.

But the flood water, through the canals that feed and collect water into the Niger River, entered the roads and overwhelmed everything in sight – houses, plants and roads to make it impassable. .

It has been noted that boat operators have clung to the floods in the metropolis of Lokoja to do quick business, exploiting the unfortunate residents.

A trip, no matter how short, attracts the sum of N100 and more, especially on a flooded highway, while N50 and more is charged for a sail by canoe operators in flooded areas.

Commuters from Kpata -kabawa to Nataco -Lokoja along the Lokoja-Abuja highway, including 500 dwellings to Ganaja village on the Lokoja -Ajaokuta road and the streets of the flooded areas of Lokoja also have a sad story to to tell about.

As travelers groaned over exorbitant transport fares charged by boat operators, some families were bereaved as some boats reportedly capsized in the Ganaja area and Kabawa axis of Lokoja, drowning five people.

It has been learned that three out of seven passengers who boarded a boat on Monday night in Ganaja died when their boat capsized halfway through their journey. One of the two corpses picked up by divers on Tuesday has been identified as Abdullazeez Abdulfatai. Another victim is still reportedly missing.

In addition, it was reported that a boat carrying three people from Kabawa on Tuesday afternoon to a new market to connect Nataco -Lokoja capsized with only one survivor.

A corpse of a David was reportedly picked up shortly after the incident, while the corpse of his friend, whom he was traveling with, identified as Fatai, was said to have graduated from the Federal College of Education, Okene has yet to be located.

Police Public Relations Officer from Kogi State Police Command, SP William Aya confirmed that two dead bodies have been spotted so far at the Ganaja-Lokoja end of the highway.

Meanwhile, to prevent the occurrence of water-borne diseases, the management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has sent its staff to Adankolo – Lokoja to treat raw water from the Niger River for the victims. floods.

State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello has requested the federal government to declare a state of emergency in Kogi State. He described the flood as a national disaster.

Governor Bello, who was on a fact-finding visit to the affected areas of the capital on Monday, assured the victims that his administration was ready to provide relief to the victims.

The governor ordered the victims to go to the displaced persons camp that the government created to meet immediate needs and meet their challenges.


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