By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Benue State government is to embark on mass demolition of illegal buildings and structures erected on waterways and floodplains in and around Makurdi town to check a repeat of the flood that submerged over 2,000 houses last Sunday morning.
Governor Samuel Ortom, disclosed this yesterday after undertaking an on-the-spot assessment of parts of the town submerged in the devastation that has left over 15,000 persons homeless, describing the situation as overwhelming.
He further hinted that as a temporary measure, the government would deploy earth moving equipment to create drainage channels in the devastated areas in order to open up drainage channels for the flood to flow.
He said: “We do not have a choice but to embark on demolition of illegal structures and buildings on water ways and drainages, if this matter must be addressed appropriately so that people do not continue to suffer in this manner.
“Given the magnitude of the situation at hand, we call on the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the problem because the flood has rendered many residents of Makurdi town homeless.”
While lamenting that the problem came at the time his administration was facing challenges of salary payment, Governor Ortom called on those living in flood prone areas across the state to relocate.
He directed the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for the purpose of assisting displaced persons.
He specifically requested the Federal Government to consider the release of ecological funds to Benue State, maintaining that if urgent steps were not taken, the sad experience of 2012 might repeat itself.