The special Assistant to Jigawa state governor, Muhammed Badaru, on community development and social inclusion, Hamza Mohammed, was on Monday mobbed by angry residents while he was on an assessment tour of the areas flooded in Hadejia Local Council Area of the state.
Mr Mohammed was mobbed together with some officials of the state’s Emergency Management Authority (SEMA)
Hadejia Local council area, engulfed by heavy flood for years, is now a no-go-location for government officials as aggrieved residents plan to mob them over alleged government negligence of the area.
The residents lamented that despite the reoccurring flood, the state government has not made provision for remedial measures neither has it established inter-agency or inter-government collaborations to curtail the menace.
The angry residents also chased away journalists taking footage of the flooded areas, lamenting that this has been the normal practice without any corresponding positive effect on their communities.
Mr Mohammed said the attack on him and other SEMA officials followed the devastating effects of the flood on the communities.
He said “the people are aggressive because they lost virtually all their livelihood as a result of the flooding however, the government are up and doing to mitigate the effects of the floods on the riverine communities.
“We are community workers, the incident is bound to happen. This, however, will not deter us from assisting the people. The government has set up committee to ascertain the numbers of houses and farmland destroyed by the flood,” Mr Muhammad said.
Also, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) ,Sani Ya’u, said one of their vehicles got damaged following the incident at Tsamiyar Kuka Community in Hadejia.
He said ” The SEMA’s vehicle was escorting the governor’s aide with other colleagues while assessing the damage, however, some residents turned violent and started attacking the government officials.
“The hoodlums damaged the side glass of the vehicle’s passenger side. However, no one is injured, Mr Ya’u said.
Hadejia community association appeals for intervention
The Hadejia Emirate Development Association (HEDA) consisting of eight local government areas, on Monday, appealed to the state government to, as a matter of urgency, complete the embarkment of Hadejia river valley which has been abandoned for about four decades.
The head of the community-based organisation, Sani Kafinta, in a press conference, said the embarkment of Hadejia river valley, initiated in the second republic, aims to control the flow of river and flood disaster in metropolitan Hadejia and its axis.
Mr Kafinta said that the project is meant to cover 25,000 hectres, saying,however, that only 6,000 hecters have been covered in the last four decades.
He also said that there is need for the federal government to complete on time the execution of the Hadejia valley project which is barely at 25 per cent completion stage.
He said the council areas appreciated the trimming project, a joint project between the federal government and the World Bank intervention, hoping that the Buhari-led APC administration will complete the project before the end of its term.
Mr Kafinta called on government at all levels to muster the commitment and political will to find a permanent solution to the flood menace occurring annually in the emirate.
CSO speaks on the flood,lists major causes
Isa Mustapha, Executive Director, Exceptional Leadership and Integrity Promotion Initiative (ELIP-Initiative), a civil society organisation, said the flood had disrupted the source of livelihood of thousands of residents of the state.
Mr Mustapha said that despite the annual budget allocation of about N2 billion to Hadejia-Jamaare river basin authority , there is deliberate negligence by the authority on the control of dams along the axis.
He said the trend of flood in the state has indicated that its major causes are insufficient channels, silted dams, weds and typa-grass over growing river channels and river beds, illegal diversion and encroachment of water ways.
He added that others are lackadaisical attitude towards desiltation of Hadejia-Jamaare-Yobe Kwamadugu River basin, poor or lack of coordination among key stakeholders.
He also said that climate change may be one of the major causes of flood in the state.
“The volume of the dam could be reduced prior to the volume of water increase which comes with the rainy season. Unfortunately, the authority does nothing to the saturating volume up to the rainy period, which leads to the annual bursting of the dams and river causing the careless but controllable disaster.
“The Jigawa State government should create a budget line in 2021 budget under the ministry of environment for coordination and follow up with relevant agencies to avert future occurrences. The Hadajia-jammare river basin must be given utmost priority of desilting the river and discharge it for dry season farming,” Mr Mustapha said.
Mr Muustapha said the flood, which is experienced annually in both urban and rural areas in Jigawa, has caused severe loss of lives and property and rendered thousands of citizens homeless.
He also said that the perennial flood has disrupted the socioeconomic and environmental well-being of the victims with negative effect on agriculture, food security and pastoralism.