Written by Johnson Babajide, Makurdi Wednesday, 12 September 2012
ABOUT 700,000 residents of Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, have been rendered homeless, following the release of water from the Ladgo Dam in Cameroun with thousands of houses submerged. The affected communities include Kutcha, Gyado Villa, Judges Quarters extention, all on the Makurdi-Gboko Road as well as Rice mill area of Wadata.
When Nigerian Tribune visited the areas on Tuesday, residents of the affected areas were making frantic efforts to remove their belongings while many were also stranded, not knowing where to go.
Mrs Terver Gbeda, a mother of three who lives about eight kilometres away from the river bank, is one of the victims of the water surge.
Speaking on the flood, Mrs Gbeda said that the water, which began to rise on Sunday morning, had continued to increase, submerging houses, thus making people to vacate their homes.
According to her, “when the water started rising on Sunday morning, everyone in the area thought it would soon subside but instead, it continued to rise. If you can see the distance of our house to the River Benue, it is about eight kilometres away but the water has now got to chest level.”
The story of Mr Romeo Dajoh and Tyor Michael is not different as they were also trying to rescue what was left of their property and move them to safer areas of the state as of the time the Nigerian Tribune visited.
Dajoh, however, decried the Federal Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards issues that affect the people, saying, ‘if the River Benue had been dredged before now, the effect of the flood would have been drastically reduced.”
Meanwhile, Benue State governor, Dr Gabriel Suswam, who visited the affected areas on Monday evening for an on the spot assessment, sympathised with the victims and promised to relocate them to a community school in Makurdi.
It will be recalled that a few weeks ago, the state government had advised those living close to the river bank to relocate to safer areas to avoid flood disaster expected to occur as a result of released water from Cameroun.
Over 700,000 rendered homeless in Makurdi