The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has expressed concerns over a possible repeat of the 2012 flood disaster in Kogi State when the River Niger overflowed its banks, displacing many residents.
The 2012 flood covered major high ways causing many travellers to be stranded in Lokoja, the state capital for several days.
NEMA’s Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, Vincent Owan, expressed the fear yesterday when they visited the state to assess the extent of the impending flood disaster.
He advised residents on the flood plains to immediately relocate to the upland areas or to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at the flood estate built by former Governor Idris Wada.
His words: “My first impression is that the flood situation is quite devastating for the fact that all the indices that manifested in the 2012 flood disaster are here, except for the release of water from the Lagdo Dam.
“Most of victims of flood today have been relocated to higher grounds, particularly the IDP hostels at the flood housing estate.”
He added that the situation needed NEMA management’s early intervention, saying: “We are going collaborate extensively with the Kogi State Government to ensure that displaced persons are well catered for.
“I have communicated with the Director General of NEMA and very shortly you will feel the presence of the agency in the state.
Responding, Commissioner for Environment, Sanusi Yahaya, said the water level was not receding, as it keeps rising.
“We are appealing to people in the flood prone areas to move to higher grounds immediately because we don’t know when the water from the Lagdo Dam will be released. When it is released the situation may be worse than the 2012 experience, he warned.
He alerted residents on the danger of possible leakages of electric current, which may lead to electrocution, as current in water kills instantly.
Executive Secretary of the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency, Alhasan Ayegba, said the water level has risen to 10.30 meters, which he noted, has exceeded the normal levels.
He said more than 45000 persons have already been displaced and are being camped at the various IDP camps in the State.
Ayegba said the situation in Ibaji Local Council was worse, as it is a low area, so the residents have been advised to move to the IDP camp in Idah.