Sov. Sani Bello speaking when he visited Sarkin Zazzau Suleja.
Sequel to the flood disaster in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger state, which claimed 13 lives, the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has directed the demolition of all structures built on waterways in major towns of the state.
The governor gave the directive when he visited communities affected by the flood disaster to get first-hand information on the tragic incident, and to commiserate with the deceased families as well as the Suleja Emirate.
A statement signed by Mary Mary Noel-Berje, chief press secretary to the governor, and made available to SummitNews, said the areas affected by the disaster include Anguwar Gwari, Almadeenat, Poulosa, Rafin Sanyi, Madalla, BJY Kwanba, Double Tee area and Anguwar Kuyanbana among others.
According to the statement, nine persons are still missing, while seven were injured, and a total of 431 houses including a school and a place of worship were affected.
The statement added that there was an atmosphere of deep emotions as the governor commiserated with victims of the flood disaster, who are still counting their losses.
At Anguwan Gwari, a family lost four of its six children to the flood disaster.
“It is sad that one family lost four children. What do you say to such parents, the best we can do at this point is to pray for God to guide and protect them, and to give them the peace and strength to bear their losses,” said Gov. Sani Bello.
The governor, who described the incident as unfortunate, noted that some people have formed the habit of building indiscriminately on waterways, not minding the dangers involved, adding that water will always find its way no matter how long it takes.
He appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agencies, as well as the Local Government Authority in their efforts at identifying houses built on water channels, and relocating them to safer places.
Gov. Sani Bello visits flood site in Suleja
Meanwhile, the government has outlined measures to avoid a reoccurrence of the disaster to include evacuation of refuse and disilting of water channels, expansion of culverts and opening up of alternative roads among others.
Also speaking during the visit, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Musa, pointed out that building indiscriminately on water channels is one of the reasons behind the National Land Drainage bill he sponsored in the upper legislative chamber to proffer solutions to flooding in the country.
The lawmaker announced that he has communicated with the Director General of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA), as well as signed the necessary documents for possible intervention to cushion the effect of the flood on the victims.
In their separate contributions, the Director General Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Nnga, and the Chairman, Suleja Local Government Area Abdullahi Shuaibu Maje, identified human factor as responsible for the flooding, while calling on residents to always obey government warnings and adhere to safety measures suggested by disaster experts.
The governor thereafter visited the Sarkin Zazzau Suleja, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, at his palace where he commiserated with him over the disaster and intimated him on the measures to be adopted by government, as well as sought his support in educating the people under his domain to ensure they cooperate with relevant government agencies to avoid building on waterways.
Responding, the of Sarkin Zazzau Suleja Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, who described the incident as unfortunate, commended the governor for his visi,t while appealing to him to come up with a robust plan that will give the town a facelift.
Recently the Niger state Government had in a statement appealed to all Riverine communities, particularly the flood prone areas in the state, and those situated along the tributaries of River Niger to be cautious and pay attention to the rising water levels in their areas following the predictions by NEMA, NIHSA and NIMET that many Local Government Areas in the state and other States, fall within the highly probable flood risk areas for 2020.