By Emmanuel Antswen
Still baffled by the destruction caused by recent floods in Benue state, Governor Samuel Ortom, has said 21 local governments were facing ecological problems.
Ortom told the Minister of State for Environment, Mr Ibrahim Jibril, who visited Makurdi on Monday to assess the damage caused by the floods.
He decried the devastation and destruction caused by floods in the state.
The governor said the heavy flooding caused other problems which included collapsed bridges, culverts, roads, destruction to farmlands and houses.
Ortom said the erosion sites were in Guma, Makurdi, Tarka, Gboko, Obi, Otukpo, Ukum, Kastina -Ala and others.
He said that River Benue and River Kastina-Ala needed to be dredged as another major measure to control flood in the state.
“We are really handicapped with the situation. We need funds to build massive waters channels and big drains for uninterrupted water flow to River Benue.
He gave the assurance that the state would judiciously use any money given to it by the federal government to address the flood problem.
The governor directed those living in the water ways to relocate on or before the first quarter of 2018 or face eviction.
Earlier, in his address, the minister called for the implementation of town planning regulations across the country to mitigate flood disaster.
Jibril said that town planning regulations needed to be fully implemented to address some ecological issues such as flood.
He said that the regulations would prevent people from building on water ways and drains.
Jibril said that the Federal Government would provide “emergency measures that would evacuate people easily and quickly during disasters’’.
According to him, it is not easy to completely relocate people from their ancestral homes.
“We may not be able to relocate people completely from flood-prone areas but we can provide basic emergency measures to assist victims during disasters,’’ the minister said.
He described the Benue flood incident as “an urgent national issue that needs to be addressed’’.
Jibril said that he was in the state on the President’s directive to inspect the challenges that lead to the flood disaster and report back to him.
He said that one of the causes of the flood was climate change.
The minister commended the Benue Government for its efforts so far in addressing the issues.
He said that the ministry would provide technical expertise to Benue State Government for effective control of ecological challenges.