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Benue asks residents to relocate from flood prone areas

The Benue State Government has again asked people residing in all flood prone areas to immediately relocate to safer places ahead of the anticipated overflow of River Benue.

A flooded neighbourhood in Makurdi

Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr Dondo Ahire, said on Friday, September 3, 2021 that NiMet had already predicted heavy rains for the month of September and possible flood.

Ahire, while making the appeal to the residents living at flood prone areas, explained that nine areas were highly prone to flooding within Makurdi, the state capital.

He said that apart from Makurdi, parts of Guma, Buruku, Agatu, Gwer-East and Gwer West were also prone to flood.

Ahire said that the affected residents needed to relocate immediately because the flood might come any day and at any time.

He said the state government would continue to support the areas and carry out projects to mitigate flood impact on the people as far as resource could permit.

“May I seize this opportunity to tell residents of Makurdi, on behalf of the State Government, that they are dearly loved and valued.

“So they know themselves in the nine prone flood areas in Makurdi and the other local government areas.

“We have already said it before that this year’s rain may be very heavy or perhaps heavier than the 2020 and it will be in this month of September.

“We are appealing that those in such areas should relocate as from the middle of this month because the flood may come suddenly and within hours,” he said.

On the state of the Katsina-Ala and Otukpo new water works, he said CGC Nig. Ltd, the company that built the plants, had shutdown to press the government to pay the over N2 billion owed it.

The commissioner explained that, according to the contract terms signed by the then Sen. Gabriel Suswam administration, the company was to “operate and maintain” the works which had accumulated to over N2 billion now.

“We have been held to ransom by the Chinese company (CGC Nig Ltd) that built these two new plants in Katsina-Ala and Otukpo.

“We have been held to ransom because the contract that was signed with it said it will still operate and maintain the plants after construction.

“Now it has accumulated a lot of money. The money that we owe is over N2 billion; so it is until we pay that it will open the plants,” he added.

He said that in the meantime, the governor had provided resources and the Old Otukpo water works had been rehabilitated and had started functioning.

“The governor tried to secure a bond to pay this contractor so that we can resume work, but that has been blocked at the federal level despite doing all the paper work.”

By Emmanuel Antswen

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