The Benue State House of Assembly on Thursday, August 30, 2017 directed the State Ministry of Lands and Survey to review the Master Plan for Makurdi as well as other urban centres in the state to forestall further violation of approved settlement patterns and checkmate incessant flooding.
This followed the motion of urgent public importance moved by Mr Terkaa Ucha (Vandeikya-Tiev/PDP) during plenary who stressed the need for the government to undertake permanent measures to forestall flooding in urban centres in the state.
He said: “The non-implementation of a Master Plan for Makurdi, or any other urban centre in the state, makes officials of the Ministry of Lands and Survey and land speculators to indiscriminately allocate and sell lands for buildings, with people and institutions erecting structures on places such as water-sheds, water-ways and drainage-ways, thereby obstructing the free flow and safe flow of water.”
Seconding the motion, Mr Benjamin Nungwa (Kwande West/APC) stated that the motion is apt considering that the issue of flooding is critical, hence, it should be given due attention so that proper consideration and measures will be put in place to tackle the menace.
Also speaking, Chief Whip of the House, Mr Titus Uba (Vandeikya-Kyan/APC), who stated that the flood issue is natural due to climate change caused by the people’s ill activities, called for information on climate change to be disseminated across the state to help people change from carrying out activities capable of accelerating climate change.
In his contribution, Mr Ianna Jato (Katsina-Ala East),who noted that the issue of flood is now a global phenomenon caused by torrential rainfall, said a rough estimate of about 90,000 persons have been displaced by the Makurdi floods, adding that public spirited individuals and other NGOs should come to the aid of the affected people to give them succour.
Mr Richard Ujege (Konshisha/APC) adduced the main problem of flooding in the Benue State capital to the uncompleted major crescent drainage that is to run from the River Benue through the town and back to the River, adding that, if completed, it would greatly ease the menace of flooding.
Speaking separately, Mr Egli Ahubi (Otukpo Akpa/PDP), Mr Chris Adaji (Ohimini/PDP), Mrs Ngohemba Agaigbe (Gboko East/APC), Barr Adam Okloho (Adoka Ogboju/APC) and Mr Terhemba Chabo (Gboko West/APC) sympathised with the affected people, calling on the Federal Government to lend a helping hand to the State Government to tackle the problem.
They noted that though it is a natural occurrence, improper planning and not taking the environment into cognisance especially with the disposal of refuse in drainage systems has not helped the situation.
Furthermore, the Assembly called on the State Urban Development Board to identify all buildings and structures that have been illegally erected on and across water-ways in all parts of the state for appropriate action.
The Assembly equally called on the Benue State Government to intimate the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and request same to urgently provide relief for victims of the current flooding in all parts of Benue State.
While symathising with the victims of the current flooding that is ravaging across the state, the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange (Ushongo/APC), advised Benue people not to buy land and build on water-ways or flood-prone areas, as this will amount to waste of resources and expose them to danger in the long-run.
By Damian Daga, Makurdi