‘Kogi flood vic­tims left out of post-flood hous­ing es­tate’

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja

Vic­tims of flood dis­as­ters in Lokoja, Kogi State have lamented what they called their in­abil­ity to se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion at the Post Flood Hous­ing Es­tate built by gov­ern­ment for those af­fected by the 2012 in­ci­dent.

The vic­tims lamented that the 272 houses at the es­tate which were meant for vic­tims are cur­rently be­ing oc­cu­pied il­le­gally by those not af­fected by the floods.

Leader of the vic­tims, Apasi Tunde, who led a del­e­ga­tion to the of­fice of the state deputy gover­nor, Yomi Awoniyi, ac­cused the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment of dou­ble stan­dard.

He said in May this year, the min­istry di­rected them (flood vic­tims) to pay al­lo­ca­tion fee of N20,000 into a Diamond Bank ac­count, which they obliged.

He said af­ter pay­ing the money, they were given al­lo­ca­tion forms, but that the min­istry re­fused to hand over keys to the houses to them.

Tunde added that shortly af­ter that, peo­ple be­lieved to be politi­cians, se­cu­rity per­son­nel and Okada riders oc­cu­pied the es­tate and gov­ern­ment did noth­ing about the de­vel­op­ment.

He won­dered why the min­istry did not eject the illegal oc­cu­pants to en­able real vic­tims to park in.

“We were given al­lo­ca­tion pa­pers in May, 2015. The num­ber of the flat al­lo­cated to me was 256. Our ef­fort to ac­cess the prop­erty was to no avail as illegal oc­cu­pants took over the es­tate, threat­en­ing to kill us if we come close to the area. We went to the Min­istry of Lands to see the com­mis­sioner; in­fact for the past four months, we have been go­ing to his of­fice but some peo­ple pre­vented us from see­ing him. Now, the illegal oc­cu­pants are brag­ging that it is only the state gover­nor who can re­move them from the es­tate”, Tunde said.

Another vic­tim, Mal­lam Ibrahim Mo­moh, who dis­played his bank teller and al­lo­ca­tion form, said where he cur­rently re­sides at Adankolo River bank has been flooded and there is no al­ter­na­tive place for him to go to.

“We thought that the state gov­ern­ment’s plan was to put smiles on our faces af­ter what we passed through dur­ing the flood dis­as­ters, but to our dis­may, more than one year af­ter the houses were com­pleted, the same gov­ern­ment is foot­drag­ging”, he said.

Mo­moh ap­pealed to the state gover­nor, Cap­tain Idris Wada, to evict the illegal oc­cu­pants and re­al­lo­cate the houses to the right peo­ple who ac­cord­ing to him, are cur­rently un­der threat of another flood.

Re­spond­ing, Chief of Staff to the deputy gover­nor, Mr Richard Ako­mode, said al­lo­ca­tion of the post flood houses was strictly the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Min­istry of Land and Hous­ing, as­sur­ing that gov­ern­ment would look into their plight with a view to solv­ing them.

Mean­while, the Kogi State gov­ern­ment has said that it will soon evac­u­ate peo­ple liv­ing in flood prone ar­eas in view of ris­ing wa­ter level of rivers.

A state­ment

from chair­man of the Flood Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee and Kogi and Deputy Gover­nor, Yomi Awoniyi, said the wa­ter has so far risen to a dis­turb­ing level of 9.66m.

Awoniyi called on the peo­ple to re­main vig­i­lant and re­lo­cate to safer lo­ca­tions, even as gov­ern­ment work to en­sure that lives and prop­erty are safe.

PHOTO: ABUBAKAR YAKUBU

From left: Founder of Kwapda’as Road Safety De­mand (KRSD), Jus­tice Mon­ica Dong­ban- Mensem; win­ner of KRSD/ FRSC es­say com­pe­ti­tion, Rabi Ab­dul­lahi Aliyu; sec­ond run­ner-up, Maimu­nat Us­man Bello; and first run­ner-up, Ugwu Ken­neth Ndu­bisi, dur­ing the 4th KRSD Con­fer­ence in Abuja yesterday.

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