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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Flood: Senate moves to add River Benue dredging project to 2024 appropriation bill

The Senate says it will facilitate the inclusion of dredging of the River Benue in the 2024 appropriation bill, to address the perennial flooding and its multi-dimensional consequences.

The Nigerian Senate
The Nigerian Senate

This followed the adoption of a motion at plenary on Monday, November 6, 2023, on “Need to prevent loss of lives caused by floods and undredged River Benue in Adamawa State.”

The motion was sponsored by Sen. Abbas lya (PDP- Adamawa).

lya, in his presentation, said that River Benue was an international river flowing into Nigeria from the high land of Northern Cameroon through Jimeta in Adamawa State, Ibi in Taraba State, Makurdi in Benue State and finally meets River Niger in Lokoja.

According to him, the volume of water that flows from the River is adversely affected by climate change.

He explained that the construction of dams had also resulted to its uncontrolled shrinking with devastating effects on agricultural activities such as dry season farming.

Iya said the inland waterways transportation system was usually affected by the flood.

He said that the River Benue flows across seven Local Government Areas of Fufore, Yola South, Yola North, Girel, Demsa, Numan and Lamunde.

This, he said, is why Adamawa State was always affected by consequence of flood disaster, largely caused by lack of dredging.

He said that, in 2022 alone, NEMA reported that over 2.41 million people were displaced and over 600 fatalities were recorded with expansive hectares of farm lands across the affected states swept off.

He said it was disturbing that, as a result of floods from the River Benue, only five of the 32 boat passengers trying to cross the river at Garin Alaji near Chikito village were rescued alive after boat capsized.

He said the remaining victims could not be accounted for till date.

He said there was an earlier report of a case where 53 people lost their lives in the same river.

He expressed worry that the perennial flood occasioned by River Benue and its attendant consequences of loss of lives, displacement of people and destruction of farmlands threatening food security would continue if urgent action was not taken to address the situation.

Senate, in the resolution, urged President Bola Tinubu to also facilitate the construction of Dasin Hausa Dam, proposed to be located in Fufore local Government, to curtail potential risk of excessive flood from the Ladgo Dam in Cameroon.

It also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the victims of the deceased and embark on enlightenment on dangers of crossing rivers before or after rainfall.

It further urged the National Inland Water Ways Authority to investigate the causes of an increased number of boat mishap in the state.

By Kingsley Okoye

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