By Morgan Adikwu
“When the father of the house is at home, the she goat will not suffer the pains of parturition with its neck being tied to the tether”… African Proverb
Fear kills faster than the actual propellant of the fears. The Nigeria State has been thrown into the grip of fears. Every day, we wake up with thanks to the Almighty for seeing us through the clutches of the “Nigeria darkness”. Yet, we are filled with pile loads of fears in our minds to confront the days activities. The functional basis of an orderly society is her capacity and capability to have institutionalised a functional mechanism and apparatus to allays the fears within her teritorial boarders.
A serious and organised clime is seen working assidously to mitigate or with concerted efforts to totally eradicate the fears of Insecurity, Lagdo Dam, Unemployment, Corruption, Marginalisation, Bad Governance, Fulani Marauders, Mutual Suspicion, Ethnic/Communal clashes, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping etc. In the case of Nigeria, these fragmented plethora of fears were left unchecked to unabatedly haunt and bug the minds of her populace before the coming of this present administration.
Water is one of the basic essentials of existence, in which plants and animals can not survive without. It is however ironical, that which, plants and animals can not survive without can constitutes fears as a result of flood. A Confluence is a place where two Rivers join. Kogi State is popular with its slogan ” The Confluence State”, because it is said, that is where River Benue and River Niger join. The artificial Confluence in Wadata is that spot where the flood from the down pour of rain join with the over flow from River Benue in Makurdi as a result of the release of the Lagdo Dam.
The Lagdo Dam became a household name in 2012 in Nigeria due to the catastrophe it caused across the States, especially in Benue State. Today, the fear of the release of the Lagdo Dam is the begin of wisdom among the residents of Wadata in Makurdi Benue State. The artificial Confluence in Wadata is a ditch of about twelve (12) feet depth with an annual expansion in width caused by erosion, which is a potential threat to the buildings around. During the raining season, around August and September, it is always the tales of woes of the inhabitants of the Wadata Confluence. The flood from the rains and the overflow from River Benue will out flow the ditch and submerge the wooden constructed bridge and spread over the surface of the earth causing people to evacuate.
If the seas in Lagos could be managed and controlled to mitigate its adverse effects, why then River Benue and the flood fron rains is left unchecked to haunt the residents of Wadata? One wonders, if the statutory responsibility of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency is just to announce from Abuja for people to just abscond from their ancestral abode to no where. Since the flood in 2012, no serious measure has been under taken to cushion the effects of this perenial episodical fears. Rather, it has become a platform for government officials to loot the nation’s treasury in the name of providind IDPs camps and relief materials by the previous administration.
In 2012, the sum of five hundred million naira (500,000,000) was released to Benue State to compensate the victims of flood was diverted, after the poor victims were made to queue for hours to write down their names in different jettisoned record taking. If not for lack of policy direction, part of the five hundred million would have been use to forestall the fears created by the artificial Confluence in Wadata saving thousands of people the annual coerce mobility that had caused loss of lives and properties, depression and rejection as a result of negligence on the part of the State.
It is my submission that, with proper drainage system to channel the flood in Wadata, it will reduce greatly the annual devastation of the over flow of the Lagdo Dam and the Wadata Confluence. The dredging of River Benue has become unaviodably imperative to serve as a permanent solution to the crys of the inhabitants of River Benue banks. River Benue has become so shallow, that it has created artificial islands fondly called “yachi”. This accounted for the diminished of the fishing and other maritime activities and the reason why shipping activities has put to a halt in Benue State, the economic sabotage and deprivation can be best imagin.
The setting up of the IDPs camp for the flood victims at Makurdi International market by the Ortom’s administration is a welcome development. However, a concrete measure should be put in place by the Federal and State government to forestall this routine annual hydrophobia and its concomittant mobility, will be more desirious. This is a clarion call for an inquiry into the five hundred million naira for the victims of the 2012 flood.
Morgan Adikwu can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org