HYPADEC, NIWA move to curb boat mishaps, flood
HYDROELECTRIC Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) have resolved to clear trees and rocks that cause boat mishaps across the country.
Representative of Kogi State in the Commission, Alhaji Isah Salami, disclosed this on Wednesday at Government House Lokoja, during a stakeholders’ town hall involving Bassa, Ibaji, Lokoja, Kogi/Koton-Karfe and Ofu local councils. The meeting was to rub minds on how best to tackle the perennial flooding in the state.
Salami noted that the clearing of trees and rocks became imperative to avert boat mishaps that had claimed many lives in Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Kebbi states. He added that the recent boat mishaps at Yauri in Kebbi where over 200 people perished calls for concern.
Urging boat-users to always wear live jacket as a precautionary measure against avoidable death on the waterways, he said: “We want to see how we can remove some of the shrubs and trees that grow along the river beds, so that we can avoid future boat mishaps because it is better to prevent such incident from happening.
“We want to also make sure the people entering the boats wear safety jacket, while on the boats to remain safe whenever such mishaps occur.”
According to him, safety on the waterways is very important and HYPADEC will not treat the issue with levity, as it is doing some survey along the River Niger to know the trees to remove.
“In view of this effort, NIWA has also declared readiness to break rocks that can constitute hazard to boats,” Salami said, advising riverine communities in Kogi to take the necessary precautions, so that what happened in Kebbi does not occur in the state.
“When HYPADEC took off in March 2021, the Governing Council visited governors of states under the purview of the commission. Traditional rulers, women organisations and youth groups were also visited because we cannot sit in the office and decide the flood-affected communities,” he said.
Kogi State Commissioner for Environment, Victor Omafaye, who representated the state at the meeting, disclosed that more than 200 ecological sites had been captured across the three senatorial districts of the state,.
He said the government was doing a lot to tackle erosion through the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), in collaboration with the World Bank.
In his goodwill message, the Ohimege of Koton-Karfe Kingdom, Alhaji Abdulrazak Isah-Koto, lamented that communities affected by flood in 2012 had not recovered after almost 11 years, appealing to the commission to do something to alleviate the suffering of the victims, who are mostly farmers and fishermen.
The royal father also solicited construction of roads, continuous dredging of Rivers Niger and Benue, as well as provision of basic health facilities to critical the challenges of flood.