The Kogi Government on Thursday ordered the immediate evacuation of traders, shanties and temporary structures around NATCO Junction of the Okene/Lokoja/Abuja Expressway in Lokoja.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Kogi Governor, Mrs Petra Onyegbule, in Lokoja, said the directive was as a result of the flash floods that occurred on Thursday morning in Seriki Loma and NATACO axis.
She said that the step was in continuation of Gov. Yahaya Bello Administration’s efforts to protect lives and property of the citizens of the state, especially those in flood prone areas.
She noted that the Kogi State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, had carried out a sensitisation campaign programme to create awareness among the residents of nine Riverine Local Government Areas that are prone to flooding.
According to her, the sensitisation programme, which began three months before the rainy season commenced, had ensured that people were well informed on the need to move uplands to avoid danger.
“We wish to implement this immediate evacuation to forestall further loss of valuables and possibly lives in our dear state.
“We are thankful for the cooperation of all the security agencies, Local and State Government emergency workers, all other stakeholders and the good people of Kogi for helping to minimise the effect of the flash flood. You are the true heroes of this event.
“We wish to call for the understanding of all travellers, both drivers and commuters, who are using this road.
“The road is a major artery connecting the Northern and Southern of Nigeria, hence it is critical that we navigate the road carefully during this period and respect the men and women in uniform trying to keep traffic flowing as quickly as possible.
“The State Government also wishes to commiserate with residents, who have lost homes and possessions to the natural disaster.
“Relief camps have been set up in the affected areas for temporarily displaced persons to take advantage of while relief materials have started arriving the locations.
“Donors and volunteers are also welcome,” Onyegbule said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some parts of Lokoja at Seriki Loma in NATACO axis was flooded following Thursday early morning down pour.
The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, immediately visited the flooded areas for on the-spot-assessment, where several properties were destroyed but no loss of life. (NAN)