Mr William Iko-Ojo, the Administrator of Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi, has said thousands of households have been displaced and property worth millions of naira destroyed by flood that ravaged the area.
Mr Iko-Ojo disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday after he led some officials of the council on inspection tour to the affected communities in Ibaji.
He noted that the team had started the inspection tour since September 23, saying over 90 per cent of communities in Ibaji had been submerged by flood.
According to him, no fewer than 5000 households have been affected in those communities by flood, which has also destroyed farmland and property worth millions of naira.
He lamented that the most devastated communities were those situated close to the River Niger and Analo River which over flew their banks, thereby submerging residential buildings, schools and farmlands.
He added that residents were forced to vacate their homes to seek refuge at few hilly places which were not affected by the natural disaster, while others have constructed wooden bridges above the water level to serve as their beds.
The administrator said that many residents of the affected areas were now faced with severe hardship as many of them are now residing in makeshift structures.
“The situation calls for urgent intervention because Ibaji is totally submerged.
”From Onyedega, the council headquarters up to Ujeh down to the boundary no structure is spared and unless the government comes to the rescue of the affected people the situation might degenerate to a major calamity.
“On our part at the local government level, we are working hard to create Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps to resettle those rendered homeless, but their immediate need now is food.
”The situation is so bad now, even the palace of the traditional ruler of Ibaji, Chief John Egwemi has been submerged”, he said.
The council boss, however, appealed to the federal and Kogi state governments and donor agencies to come to the aid of the flood victims.
”Though no life has been lost to flood disaster in Ibaji, but our fear is that there could be casualties if nothing concrete is done to provide relief items such as shelter, food, drugs and clothings for the victims especially children and the aged among them,” he said.
Some of the flood victims in their separate comments, made passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Yahaya Bello to come to their aid.
They said that the large quantity of their farm produce had been washed away by the flood, adding that the major road leading to Onyedega, the council headquarters from Idah, had been cut off at different points.
Some of the victims stressed that the situation had forced them to embrace speed boat as an alternative mode of transportation.
Mrs Agnes Apeh, a native of Onyedega, said they had lost their homes and belongings due to the flood that ravaged their homes last night after a heavy downpour which took them by surprise.
“We could not recover anything as we are all running to safer places with our children. We are now sleeping on bare floor since we have no mattresses.
“It is so disturbing that we have continued to suffer on account of flooding every year without a permanent solution.
”We lack everything in Ibaji. It is the only council area in Nigeria without electricity, asphalt road, functional hospital and good schools as if we are not part of Nigeria,” Mrs Apeh said.
Mr Jerry Nwuchola, the National Coordinator, Coalition of Ibaji Youths, COIY, described the annual flooding in Ibaji area as “a menace that may become a lagoon if necessary actions are not taking toward the River Niger.”
“The annual flooding has brought us much bizarre, subsidence effect on our land and livelihood.
”We are craving more assistance from the Federal, State governments and other relevant organisations in fostering a lasting solutions to the wistful experience by the Ibaji people,” he said.