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Gov’t to relocate flood affected residents

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By Usman Oladimeji

Construction of buildings to house the displaced residents would soon begin.

About 10,000 residents from the Mosun Community in Kogi’s Bassa Local Government Area who have been displaced as a consequence of the River Benue’s raging activities during the rainy season are ready to be relocated with government aid. The area had already been severely impacted by flooding last year. Managing Director (MD) of the Hydro-Electricity Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, said this on Monday during a visit to the affected areas in the community.

Considering the devastating flood of 2022, Yelwa declared it was necessary to relocate the damaged areas. People had to leave their houses for their own safety. Construction on buildings to house the displaced residents would begin in two weeks, he said. This will take place once plots of land are designated for construction by the traditional ruler and the Bassa Local Government officials. But still, he emphasized that the anticipated 2023 flood is a concerning issue.

300 meters of land were wiped away by the 2022 flood.

With regards to the expected floods in 2023, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had earlier predicted that 2023 rains will be heavier than that of the previous year, which might entail more flooding than we now anticipate. On site, the Managing Director of HYPPADEC provided more confirmation of the devastating effects the River Benue has had on the people of the Mosun Kingdom. He stressed the need of taking action to save lives and give people hope.

In addition, he assures us that the commission is prepared to dispatch resources to the riverbanks and begin work on stemming the tide of destructive erosion. The traditional ruler of the Mosun Kingdom, Alhaji Burka Ali, made it clear to the HYPPADEC Managing Director and his entourage that last year’s flood had been very damaging. Almost 300 meters of land were wiped away and at least 10,000 people were affected by the 2022 flood.

The community reiterates its willingness to cooperate with HYPPADEC.

According to the ruler of the Mosun Kingdom, the plot of land has already been chosen for the community’s relocation. In a follow-up, he thanked the commission and the federal government for their care and concern for the people of the kingdom. The community further reiterates its willingness to cooperate with HYPPADEC towards the goal of relocating flood victims. During the commission’s visit to the Mosun Kingdom, the commission’s managing director and the Kogi representative, Alhaji Isa Ozi-Salami, were both awarded chieftaincy titles, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

While Yelwa became the “Ondaihi” (Galadima) of Bassa land, Ozi-Salami became the “Oniereza Ogbanyi” of the Mozum Kingdom. A report on the 2023 seasonal climate prediction released by NiMet in January comes with a forecast that there may also be early onset of rain across the country. NiMET predicted that heavy rain will occur on the coasts of the south-south states of Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa-Ibom beginning on or around March 2. According to NiMET, the states of Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, western Ogun, and Lagos should expect a longer than usual rainy season.

Rainfall is most likely to peak between July and September.

As stated in the report, rains may not start until June or July in the states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno. In fact, only Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos will see numbers that are quite close to average. Rainfall is most likely to peak between July and September. NiMET also predicted that in 2023 there would be more floods than usual, with waters coming in with great strength for a very little period of time. This is due to the observable rise in climate change and human-triggered actions such as indiscriminate dumping of rubbish.

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