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Flood: How to stay safe from displaced snakes — Environmentalist

The recent floods that have inundated villages, towns and cities across Nigeria, killing over 600 people and displacing over 2.3 million others, have also dislodged…

The recent floods that have inundated villages, towns and cities across Nigeria, killing over 600 people and displacing over 2.3 million others, have also dislodged wildlife, especially snakes, which have crept into homes.

Residents of Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, one of the worst hit towns in the country, have in the past weeks witnessed an influx of snakes into their homes, sending chilling scares down their spines.

However, an environmentalist and Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Mallam Sani Abdul Ganiyu, has advised residents on how to stay safe from vermin, not just snakes, which have invaded homes.

Ganiyu, therefore, advised residents of affected areas to take measures that would keep them safe from harm by the invading reptiles and vermin.

He urged them to be vigilant in their homes to avoid being attacked by vermin that had been flooded out by the raging waters of the Niger and Benue rivers.

While advising the inhabitants of the flooded areas to desist from packing back to their houses without first fumigating the area, he said, “Fumigate the area for three days. For the rooms, close the doors for three days after fumigation. The chemical will kill the vermin.

“Get a certified environmental health officer to formulate both inside and outside the rooms/compound. After three days, open the doors and check those animals or insects that are dead. Thereafter, disinfect the place to destroy microorganisms or pathogens that have been flooded in through soak away. Most of the pathogens, if not all, have venoms that cause diseases which may lead to death. There are many organisms that form cyst, they may not die on time even after fumigation, and once they get into the body, they manifest.”

As the flood waters receded in Lokoja, reptiles, particularly snakes, crept into homes in areas like Adankolo, Gadumo, Ganaja, Ajara and the Chari Magumeri Army Barracks.

A resident of Ajara, Abdulmaliki Usman, who recounted the ordeal of his family last week, said they had never experienced such an influx of snakes into their home.

He said, “We packed back home on Monday as the flood waters started receding in our area. Since then we have killed up to 10 snakes, some in the compound, others inside the rooms. We are now living in fear. But we thank God we have not been bitten by any of the snakes.”

He noted that since 1975 when the house was built they had never experienced flooding of this magnitude.

At Adankolo, a resident, Mallam Nasiru Ahmed, said his family had killed up to five snakes since the advent of this year’s flood, adding that many homes in the community were also grappling with snakes.

At the 500-Unit Ganaja Housing Estate, Daily Trust gathered that a thief was bitten by a snake while in the process of stealing an air conditioner in an abandoned house.

A resident said that when the thief removed the AC, a snake was lurking in it and that as he carried it on his head the snake bit him and he eventually died.

A family around the army barracks was saved by a girl who alerted her parents that she saw a snake around the fridge in their room.

The snake, a python, was spotted under a chair after frantic search with the assistance of neighbours.

Equally, travellers in a boat on the flooded Ganaja-Lokoja road were reported to have encountered a big snake in their boat which caused panic with many of the passengers jumping into the water.

A passenger, Joseph Benjamin, said, “We were lucky the place was not deep. The snake was killed with a paddle by the operator of the boat.”

A motorist in Lokoja, Alabi Funso, said the harsh climatic condition of the town had made snakes invade homes over time, but that their numbers increased enormously recently because of this year’s flooding.

Funso said, “A neighbour was almost bitten by a cobra recently when he opened the bonnet of his car in the morning and found a big snake in the engine. He raised alarm and we rallied and killed the snake.


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