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Waste, reptiles take over Benue homes as flood waters recede

Following the recent flooding of most parts of Nigeria, residents of Benue State are now contending with all manner of waste and reptiles in their…

Following the recent flooding of most parts of Nigeria, residents of Benue State are now contending with all manner of waste and reptiles in their homes as the waters continue to recede.

The floods killed over 600 and displaced over 2.5 million people across towns and villages in Nigeria.

Mngusonun Bogyo, a victim of the extreme climate event, who resides at Rice Mill in the Wadata area of Makurdi, told our correspondent that though the flood had not yet subsided to the level where her family of six could return to their house, there were indications that their home had been taken over by dangerous reptiles and waste – mostly plastic bottles and polythene bags.

Mngusonun said her family of four children and her husband vacated their home for safety on September 13, after the flood submerged their house.

She further said, “It’s almost two months now that we vacated our home because the flood became a threat to our lives. Sadly, where we moved to was also submerged by the flood.”

She added that, “As you can see, the flood hasn’t completely receded from our building. So it’s not safe to return.

“We usually use a canoe to come and check the situation. I can tell you that snakes and waste items have taken over the houses, as well as the streets.

“Snakes and dangerous insects are everywhere; we have killed some. So, the place is not safe for our return even if the waters dry up in the next two weeks.”

In the same vein, Naomi Michael, who also resides at the Rice Mill area, said she was worried that the flood brought along huge waste into her apartment that now looked like a dump site.

Naomi said, “The water carried away many people’s property, including mine. In fact, the flood washed away canoes, fishing nets and in return deposited heaps of rubbish in our houses.”

Our correspondent observed that chunks of refuse litter the streets and houses as the flood gradually receded in most parts of Makurdi.

In Makurdi alone, several places such as Wurukum, Angwan Jukun, Wadata, Gyado Villa and Behind Benue Links were all affected and residents are yet to move back to their homes because reptiles and waste have taken abode in them, even as the water in their homes is yet to dry up.

Perpetua Moses of Gyado Villa said she was unable to salvage any of her property as she battled to rescue her children who were asleep when the water engulfed her home.

She said the water level had receded but that there were snakes hibernating in her area.

She further said, “We have lost our livelihoods, including food and potable water. I’m now worried about the contaminated water in my environment being used for our daily needs.

“The water has been polluted by chemicals, refuse, faeces and other unhygienic substances.”

Meanwhile, the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Dr Godwin Oyiwona, confirmed that the flood which caused devastation in many parts of the state had begun to recede.

Oyiwona expressed joy that the situation would soon be brought under control, assuring that the water would gradually continue to reduce until people regained their habitations.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Emmanuel Shior, disclosed that at least 23 people had died while 116,084 were currently displaced by the flood.

He listed the 11 LGAs inundated by the flood as Guma, Vandekiya, Otukpo, Kastina-Ala, Makurdi, Apa, Agatu, Tarka, Gboko, Gwer West and Logo, stressing that Makurdi and Agatu were the worst hit.

The SEMA boss noted that in all, 104 communities had been affected, 14 persons injured, as well as a total of 12, 856 households in the 11 LGAs affected.

Shior intimated that SEMA deployed its water purification truck to purify polluted water and distribute to the affected communities.

In the same vein, Governor Samuel Ortom, during an assessment tour of the flood-ravaged areas, stressed the need for the federal government to dredge the River Benue in order to forestall a repeat of the disaster.

Ortom had insisted that the only way the flood could be stopped was to create an enabling environment for the water to flow along the river’s course, urging the federal government to bring to book the contractors who were awarded the dredging of the river’s contract during the preceding regime.

He said, “If that contract can be terminated and another one awarded, that will help us. So, we are begging the federal government to intervene in this matter and dredge River Benue.

“Even me who is the governor, the flood did not fear me, my farms, my houses are under the water so we must take steps to address it.”

The governor appealed to those who deserted their homes to fumigate them before returning to prevent being harmed by dangerous reptiles.


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