Kogi residents in panic as River Niger rises

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Palpable fears have enveloped Kogi residents, especially those living near riverbanks in Lokoja, because of the rising level of the River Niger.

Our correspondent gathered on Wednesday that the residents were apprehensive of re-occurrence of the 2012 flood in which many people were displaced, 597,476 houses damaged and over 363 people killed.

The Zonal Coordinator, Minna Office, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Slaku Bijimi, had put the total estimate of damage and loss at N2.6tn.

However, the Kogi State Government urged the residents not to be in panic over possible flooding, saying there was no cause for alarm.

The Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, assured the residents of government’s commitment to ensure their safety.

He also assured the residents that the state government had placed its agencies on red alert to tackle flood if it occurred.

Awoniyi, represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Tayo Aremu, spoke on Wednesday in Lokoja during an inspection tour of the River Niger.

Areas visited by Awoniyi included Gadumo, Ganaja, Adankolo New layout areas and Confluence Beach.

The deputy governor said, “Although the level of the Niger River is above normal, it is not enough to cause panic among the residents.

“But we must not erect building on waterways and on flood plains. The government, at the appropriate time, will pull down such illegal buildings and structures.

“Residents near the River Niger must be sensitive, vigilant and exercise all necessary caution to avoid a repeat of the 2012 flood.”

He said the state government was in constant touch with the dam operators in the country, adding that the government had intensified efforts to alert the people to the event of any plan to release water from the dams.

The deputy governor appealed to the residents not to ignore warnings and pieces of advice from government to always build on higher ground.

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