Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State has commissioned the foundation laying of a 272 unit housing estate in Gadumo village, Lokoja.
The project is aimed at helping hundreds of victims who were displaced by floods in 2012.
Mr Wada said his government is committed to alleviating the suffering of the flood victims in the state by providing an environment conducive for the people to live in.
He stated that this will serve as fulfillment of the administration’s earlier promise to assist victims in all the nine local government areas of the state which were affected by the disaster.
The State Commissioner for Land and housing, Mr Stephen Mayaki said that the housing estate comprises of 272 units of bungalows.
He said the ongoing project will be executed in four months at the cost of N6,650,000.
The Governor, accompanied by the his deputy, Yomi Awoniyi and some of his cabinet members promised that other affected areas would soon be attended to as well.
Inspection of uncompleted projects
In a bid to fulfill his promise to conclude all uncompleted projects by his predecessor, Mr Wada was also at the Confluence beach to inspect a five star hotel which was initiated by former governor, Idris Ibrahim.
He disclosed that the project is top priority because it is aimed at promoting tourism in the state.
He also stated that the state government intention is to work out a private partnership with a management team based in Dubai, to run and change the fortune of the hotel.
Wada also inspected the second phase of the state secretariat complex which the contractor promised will be handed over in one week.
President Jonathan said, “In Kogi State, four farmers committed suicide because they borrowed money from the bank to buy seeds and flood came and destroyed it. So because they were scared they committed suicide. I was also in a place in Kogi, where a storey building was under water.
“People that are not in IDPs are the people always struggling for relief materials. This flood is all over the world, Asia, Europe, I know that Nigeria flooding is bad. And when we have such disaster food is not the problem, do not make food your priority.
“If you eat once, thank God, I know that none of you would die of hunger here. Before the middle of November, the water would have receded.”
Although over 19 states of the federation are affected by the ravaging flood, the worse hit appears to be Kogi state, where three weeks after the rise in water level, movement in and out of the state is now via boats, canoes and ferries.
Being a confluence town and a neighbouring city to the nation’s capital, a number of travelers are currently stranded in the city due to the inundated roads which has affected the Abuja-Lokoja expressway with a number of bridges and roads, submerged.
People are now paying operators of boats and ferries to convey them and their goods in and out of the city.
The state government has assured that efforts are being made to reduce the effect of the disaster caused by this unprecedented flood.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has described the flooding in Kogi State and other parts of the country as a national emergency and calls on all Nigerians to stop blaming the government and assist it in the provision of succour to the affected peoples.
The Minister for the Environment, Hadiza Melafia who spoke to state house correspondents after the council meeting said that the flooding being experienced in the country does not in any way fall into what can be described as man-made describing it as a natural phenomenon happening everywhere in the world.
Ms Melafia said the presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan have visited seven states to ascertain the extent of impact of the flood on life and infrastructure and to identify immediate areas of intervention.
“The most devastating that we have witnessed is that of Kogi State where we have a major road completely made impassable.
“We have also seen a lot of infrastructure submerged and witnessed very traumatising experiences by people that were affected,’’ she said.
She said among the consequences of the flooding was huge loss of farmlands which might likely pose a threat to food security.
The minister said academic calendar was affected, people were displaced and there was likelihood of health challenges in the affected areas. She underscored the need for Nigerians to make concerted efforts towards addressing the challenges of climate change.
She said the River Niger which over-flew its bank in Lokoja flows from Guinea Conakry through the northern region where there was acute desertification.
By-passes on Lokojo-Abuja road
Meanwhile, following the reports of a survey on the Kogi flooding by the presidential committee, the Federal Executive Council will on Thursday open a by-passes as a diversion for vehicles to drive through the Lokoja-Abuja road.
The Minister of Works, Mike Onolemenen, disclosed this to State House correspondents, after this week’s Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
Mr Onolemenen said the bye-passes which had been created around the flooded area would be opened to motorists from Thursday. He said government had engaged construction giants in the country to create the bye-passes as a temporary measure to ease the suffering of commuters.
“What we’ve been doing since yesterday morning is that around the flooded area, we identified a bye-pass which we have created.
“As at this morning, we have attained about 60 per cent completion. From the way we are going, by tomorrow, the road should be opened to motorists.
“We have done a diversion at those drainages and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened.
“For us, that was a national priority because we needed to open that particular transport corridor so that movement between the southern states and the northern states will not be impaired.
“We have done that and I want Nigerians to be assured that government is with them in this situation and that government will continue to do all in its power to ensure that the pains are reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.
Eight persons have been killed and about one million displaced from their home in Kogi State by the recent flooding that have ravage the state due to the release of Kainji and Shiroro dams of the River Niger, an official said on Monday.
The Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) operations in Abuja, Ishaya Isah, who in company of some members of the National Assembly from Kogi West visited one of the relieve camp in Lokoja, confirmed that about eight persons have lost their lives as a result of the flood while over 332 communities were washed away by the flood.
“About nine local governments were affected by the waters and over 332 communities have suffered this devastation of the flood. People lost their household utensils, their houses and over 70 percent of them lost all their farm products,” he said.
Mr Isah said that the eight persons that died were killed when a boat cap sided in Banda, a community which is about ten minutes’ drive away from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
Abuja road blocked
The Lokoja-Abuja road wish have a free flow of traffic for quite sometimes now have been put on hold as a result of the flood, water from river Niger has over flown and move across the road in Banda village making it difficult for vehicles heading to Abuja or returning from the FCT to the eastern part of the states to move.
Some commuters trapped on either side of the road told Channels Television’s reporter that they have been there in the last two days without head ways. Getting out of Banda some commuters use canoes to get to the other side of the river while others ride on commercial motorcycle to get to Banda.
Some travellers said the state government should take a proactive step in putting a temporary solution to the situation by inviting an engineer to drain out the water.
Alternative routes Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said it has worked out alternative routes to and from Abuja to lessen the agony of motorists, following the temporary closure of the flooded Lokoja-Abuja Road. In a statement on Monday, the Deputy Corps Public Education Officer of the commission, Bisi Kazeem urged motorists driving from Lagos and wishing to use Okene-Lokoja-Abuja route, to divert to Okene-Ajaokuta-Ayangba-Ankpa-Makurdi Lafia-Akwanga-Abuja route. Those coming from the South East should use Otukpa-Makurdi route, and those driving from Abuja to Lokoja should use Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi-Ankpa-Okene route. He said the commission had also deployed more personnel in those routes to forestall traffic gridlock.