Residents of Kaamem, a suburb in Makurdi Local Government Area, have appealed to the Benue Government to urgently intervene to save them from flooding.
The residents, who narrated their ordeal to the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Wednesday in the community, claimed that they incurred substantial losses due to flooding each time it rained.
They lamented that they had been abandoned by the government and appealed for urgent intervention to save them from the menace that had rendered many people in the community homeless.
Mr Abraham Agbede, the traditional ruler of Kaamem Community said, “the community suffers during dry and rainy seasons as there is no water during dry season, while flood overwhelms us during the rainy season.”
Agbede said that the environmental challenge, which started in 2009 had progressively deteriorated.
“Since that time, no year passes by without the community experiencing flood.
“This issue started right from the administration of former Gov. Gabriel Suswam.
“I have officially written and visited the concerned authorities but no positive outcome. They have abandoned us to our fate. We also don’t have power supply.
“I have over 5,000 households under my domain. We have even made frantic efforts as a community by digging a gutter with the hope that the flood will be reduced but to no avail. We are now exhausted as a community. ”
The Chairman, Landlords Association, Kaamem Community, Mr John Otabo said the community lost property worth millions to flooding every year.
“The community used to be a residential delight until 2009 when a construction firm handling the drainage channels in Ankpa Ward Makurdi, diverted the water drainage to terminate in the community and abandoned the project resulting in heavy flooding of the area at any drop of the rain.
“This has caused untold havoc and hardship on the residents every rainy season.”
Otabo appealed to the government to urgently address the flood issue in the area to avoid more destruction of lives and property.
Reacting, the Director of Environment in the Benue Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mr Richard Azaagee, said plans were underway for the construction of a big box culvert to replace the ring culvert to address the challenge.
He denied the allegation that the community had been abandoned
Azaagee told NAN in Makurdi that the government had already identified the cause of the flood in the community and was working toward fixing it.
“The problem of erosion and flood is not just in Kaamem community, it cuts across many communities in Makurdi and the state at large.
“Kaamem community is located at the terminal end of a very long stretch of drainage. The drainage starting from BIPC quarters/railway line joined by the one coming from Our Lady of Pepertual Help Cathedral, and the one from Mobile Barracks Road all terminate at the community.
“So, what happens is that the culvert controlling the entire water is small and therefore hinders the free transmission of water down to the river thereby causing the flood.”
Azaage said that the government planned to replace the small ring culvert with a big box culvert as a permanent solution to the flood.
He said the volume of water increased in the community during rainy season because the newly constructed Mobile Barracks road had a good drainage system that channeled the flow of water to the point of discharge, “which unfortunately is in the community’’.
The director said that the government was doing everything within its powers to ensure that there was no flood in the state, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic protocols.
NAN reports that Kaamem community, which is located behind Federal Low-cost Naka Road Makurdi, lacks many social amenities of a modem settlement and has since 2009, witnessed yearly water flooding due to poor drainage.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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