Residents of Angwan Nungu, Shinge Road junction in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, have been having sleepless nights due to flooding that is ravaging the area estimated to have about 5,000 houses.
Aso Chronicles recalls that the state governor, Abdullahi Sule, an engineer, had early this year, flagged off the Lafia Storm Water and Gully Erosion Control, undertaken by the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) at the cost of about N1.5 billion.
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Sule stated that the project, which is to be assisted by the World Bank, is targeted to tackle the perennial problems of gully erosion and land degradation, especially in the prone area of Angwan Nungu, Shinge Road junction.
He said the state government was partnering with NEWMAP to implement the project with a view to safeguarding the lives and property of the people.
The Nasarawa State NEWMAP Coordinator, Kwa’kaha Jonathan, had expressed concern that, for years, gullies have claimed many lives and gobbled up properties, stressing that, to tackle the menace, the state government had supported the implementation of the 2020 NEWMAP, World Bank approved Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP).
He further disclosed that, as part of the implementation of the 2020 plan, NEWMAP had awarded the contract for the control of stormwater and gully erosion in Lafia town.
But residents of Angwan Nungu, through their village head, Muhammed Aliyu-Wambai, said construction work on Shingle road opened up passage for water to flood the area, thereby threatening lives and property.
He said: “We have two roads in this area, one from Shinge down to Kwandere, the Airport road that links to the home town of the immediate past governor of the state, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the senator representing Nasarawa South at the National Assembly and the other that connects to other neighbouring villages in the area.
“As I am talking to you now, whenever cloud gathers, signalling that it’s about to rain, we can’t sleep anymore,” adding that “there is a widow close to my house who has abandoned her house because of the persistent flooding problem.
“She has no one and has nothing for herself; the house next to hers, the owner has also abandoned it because whenever it the house must be flooded. So he abandoned the house,” he explained.
He said the state government, in collaboration with the federal government, promised to do something about the problem, but lamented that to date, nothing has been done, adding that “over 5,000 residents are suffering from this predicament. The flood has also killed more than 10 people, including children in this area.
“A woman came to visit her parents only for the flood to sweep her and her baby. She was lucky to have been saved, but her baby was swept away by the flood. Many children have been swept by the flood while playing,” he said tears flowing down his cheeks.
Also speaking, a resident of the area, Mr Umaru Edekudu, a journalist with the state-owned medium, Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS), said since he relocated to his personal house in 2011, flooding had been the major problem disturbing the residents of the area.
He explained that several efforts were made during the tenure of former governor of the state to address the challenge but the efforts did not yield positive result.
He said when the governor came on board, he directed the then general manager of Nasarawa Urban Development Board, Mr Adamu Sule, to survey the area so that the street would be among those to be constructed alongside Shinge road.
However, the reverse has been the case as the road has been abandoned for several years leaving the inhabitants of the area to their fate.
Edekudu said the federal government had earlier this year promised to repair the road, but they were yet to see anything and called on both the federal and state governments to come to their assistance.
He added that flood had claimed many lives between 2014 and 2019.
The Managing Director, Nasarawa State Urban Development Board, Engr. Wada Yahaya-Muhammed, neither picks his call nor responds to text message sent to his mobile phone up till the time of filling the report,