Flooding: We have re-channelled water, constructed dykes in Niger — HYPPADEC

THE Hydro Power Producing Area Development Commission (HYPPADEC) said it has re-channelled water flowing through some flood prone regions and constructed dykes to mitigate future disaster. 

The Commission explained that it prioritised the most hit communities and also planned relocating the affected residents to higher land.

The ICIR in an investigation published on June 26, detailed some of the challenges faced by residents of the flood prone communities in Niger State and how the state government was reacting to it.

According to the investigation, residents of the affected communities were forced to abandon their homes due to the onslaught of heavy floods and had to seek refuge in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps and makeshift houses.

Despite the warning by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET), some survivors in these communities have returned to their homes and vowed not to relocate even if there is a repeat of last year flooding, while some hoped to vacate to high land if necessary.

They cited hunger, government neglect and lack of basic amenities in their camps as reasons for not wanting to return to the camps.

Findings by The ICIR show that should the forecast become a reality, some of these communities, like Kusogi and Ketso are at risk of losing lives and property as no flood preventive measures and control have been launched in the villages – either by the government or the residents.

Reacting to the findings, HYPPADEC spokesperson Nura Tanko, said the Commission and the state government are addressing the concerns of residents by building resettlement camps for residents in the flood prone communities.

He also assured that the state won’t experience a severe flooding this year no matter the amount of torrential rainfall.

He said: “As you know, this problem has accumulated for over five decades, and these communities are dealing with socio-economic and ecological challenges. Addressing it to the satisfaction of the people going by their expectations is not a day or two days job. We are just two years old,” he said.

“Resources also matter in addressing this issue. I can tell you we have actually done our best, and where people are not satisfied with what we are doing, all they need to do is to exercise patience. We can’t rise up in one day and address all the issues.

“We are sure that what we experienced last year, no matter the amount of torrential flood, we aren’t going to experience it again. We have re-channelled the water, and we constructed dykes to prevent it from cutting off the road.”

When asked about Ketso and Muregi, he said, “For Ketso and Muregi communities, our plan is not to provide ecological intervention within the existing community, our plan is to relocate these people to where the state government has provided for their relocation and as I speak with you, construction of houses for their relocation has started in a place identified by the state government where the government constructed a clinic and palace for the district heads.”

“For Mariga, as we address these things in batches, it will get to them. We can’t address all these problems overnight because of resources and the number of communities we operate in in the six states.”

    Speaking on the Hydro Electric Dam project in Shiroro LGA, Tanko said communities in that area have enjoyed the Commission’s intervention, which is in contrast to what The ICIR reporter gathered on the field. 

    But he explained that the idea of dredging River Niger was not an easy task, adding that the Federal Government cannot undertake the project at the moment.

    The managing director of HYPPADEC, Abubakar Yelwa, had earlier noted that to dredge River Niger, River Benue, and River Kaduna, the Federal Government will have to spend over $20 billion.

    The HYPPADEC boss however stated that the process will be difficult for the Federal Government to handle without intervention from international donor agencies.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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