…It’s ticking time bomb if… FCDA warns
By Stanley Onyekwere
For the umpteenth time in barely two years, another flash flood has wrecked havoc on residents of Lokogoma District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following a heavy downpour.
It was gathered that the rainstorm that occurred last week caused River Kabusa to overflow its bank into streets and households, resulting in death 17 years old boy who was identified as Tuesday Bala, as well as destruction of property.
The latest incident, which occurred last Thursday is against the backdrop of the 2017 tragic incident that claimed a family of three in Lokogoma.
In a swift and succinct reaction to the development, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), described the rampaging flood rockingLokogoma as ticking time bomb if urgent steps are not taken to address the looming disaster ahead.
Speaking during a visit to the area, Deputy Director, FCDA Engineering Department, Engr. Ferdinand Ezeoha, revealed that the whole waterways in Lokogoma have been occupied with buildings, retaining walls and undersized convert.
Ezeoha, who represented Director of Engineering Services of the Federal Capital Development Authority, Engr. Ahmed Hadi, noted that most of the structures on waterways are built without approval from relevant authorities, disclosing that most of the structures must be pulled down to ease the flow of water.
He however revealed that the FCT Administration has procured a contract that will bring permanent solution to the flooding in the area, adding that the contract has been captured in the 2019 budget.
He equally confirmed the death of the 17 years old who was drown after the heavy downpour.
“In August 2017, the whole of Lokogoma was flooded in three locations and a family of three lost their lives. We were called upon as the authority to intervene so we did some palliative works which some of them are still standing.
“The issue of flooding has not yet been solved. At the first location where we entered from, we were able to solve it because we did some emergency work there, but the other two locations which this one is part of it, we just did some palliative work to curtain it.
“Incidentally, what is causing this flooding is the issue of the construction ways, right in front of me here is the alignment of River Kabussa, but if you look at what is happening here the whole place has been occupied with buildings, retaining walls and undersized convert. The only thing the people have to know is that Lokogoma is a ticking time bomb.
“And when you do that to the waterways it will be narrowed and the result will be erosion because the speed will increase and start eroding whatever it meet on the way.
“Presently, the government is procuring a contract that will solve the problem permanently. The contract is under procurement and before the year runs out, they will be able to complete it.
Furthermore, on the palliative measures to be taken before contractors mobilize to site, he said, “we are going to do some alignment and fortify the waterways by putting boarders so that the effect of the storm can be reduced.
“There are various agencies the Development Control Department is here, a committe has been set up, we have been able to identify the structures involved. The major cause of this problem is that residents have build on the waterways. We have to interface with them and from there we take it up.
“But definitely, these structures have to give way. I cannot give you the figure, but there are so many houses that will give way.
“In this location , if you just watch, look back, you will be able to pick some, down there you will be able to pick some . But when we do the actuall survey, the way it is and from the original master plan of this area and place it, you will be able to pick out the exact structures that are involved.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Lokogoma District Residents Association, Dr. Joseph Nnorom, said the authorities of FCT Administration should be blamed for whatever that has happened in Lokogoma district, warning that before demolition of any structure, the issue of compensation should be put in the front burner.
According to him, “It is unfortunate to see the tragedy lost of lives and property in this area due to flooding. We commensurate with the families of those who their loved ones. However, I want to stress here that no developer in this area is a squatter or off-shooter.
“Somebody somewhere gave them approval to develop these property that blocked the waterways. The issue that we must address therefore is that of compensation before the relevant authorities will pull down any structure. People must be made to pay for their mistakes.”
Similarly, another resident, who is also the chairman of residents Ipent 5 Estate, Mr. Dauda Kewa, said despite the ministerial directive to clear the waterways, the construction works have not been fully achieved.
He recalls that, “when this incident happened in 2017, that led to the death of our residents, we visited the former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello in his office. He gave an order that the road should be rehabilitated immediately.
“The Lokogoma junction and our own road. We have seen that the Lokogoma junction is completed after one year now, but we don’t know what is happening to this our own road.”
According to him, residents of the estate have contributed over N6 million to create alternative route to the city center, adding that each household contributed N150,000.
“Each house contributed N150,000 so we could create an alternative road, but when the heavy downpour of that year came it carried the bridge and all that we tried to construct.
“We sunk in about N6,000,000 to that project. Last year again, we raised some money about N30,000 each to cast and elevate the culvate but gradually water is eroding the construction we made,” Kewa stressed.
He adds: “Whenever it rains, we have to stay back in our homes for about 4 to 5 hours before going out or if you are outside you remain there too. That is our fate in this estate.”
He further stated that two Sundays ago 4 okada men fell into the canal but luckily no life was lost, their motorcycles was recovered the next day.