Benue Flood: Minister’s house submerged

Over 2,000 houses were destroyed in various communities in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom has become one of the victims of the flood in Benue State as his house has been submerged, residents of the neighbourhood say.

Mr. Ortom’s house, located in judges’ quarters in Wurukum, Wadata area of Makurdi, was submerged following the flood in Markurdi. The house of former governor, George Akume, initially thought to be affected by the flood, is on the opposite side of the affected areas.

The main campus of the Benue State University and the teaching hospital also saw several buildings affected by the flood.

While Mr. Ortom, may complain little form the effects of the flood, thousands of residents of the state who also suffered losses are groaning and asking for help.

The displaced victims have appealed to the state government to resettle them to a safe place.

More than two thousand houses were destroyed by the floods in Wurukum, Wadata and Gyado Villa areas of Makurdi following the release of water from Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon.

The flood destroyed property worth millions of naira along the Benue valley, and the victims who lost their valuables have appealed to the state government for assistance.

A victim, James Tule, said although the government provided early warning systems to alert them about the floods, it did not provide alternative resettlement centres for the victims.

Mr. Tule said: “Government needed to have also provided alternative accommodation for those living in flood prone areas.

“It is not enough to give warning signals, what we expected was for the government to source for alternative accommodation for us”.

Others lamented their huge losses, and called on the government to come to their aid by resettling them elsewhere, adding that they had suggestions on alternative places for relocation.

Some of the victims said they ferried their goods on canoe to safety, but regretted that they paid exorbitant prices for it.

Another victim, Abua Benjamin, said he paid as much as N5,000 for a canoe ride to ferry his belongings to safety, adding that those, who could not afford the fare had to wade through the floods to safety.

When contacted, the Executive Secretary, Benue Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Adikpo Agbatse, blamed the residents for ignoring the early warning on the flood. He, however, gave the assurance that the agency would collaborate with the National Emergency Management Agency to provide relief for the affected communities.

The Governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, promised that the government would construct drainage canals to check future flooding of the areas, and appealed to the people to avoid blocking the drainage.


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