Governor of Borno State, Babaganna Zulum, has sent a delegation to Gomari community I Maiduguri following a devastating flood incident over the weekend.
Spokesman of the Borno State governor, Isa Gusau, revealed this in a telephone interview with THE WHISTLER on Monday.
According to one Abubakar Mustapha, a resident of Gomari who confirmed the flooding to THE WHISTLER, said about 80 houses were destroyed and scores of children lost their lives.
Mustapha said children living within the area cannot go to school during rainy season, due to floods experienced within the locality.
Speaking on the measures taken by the government towards alleviating the suffering of the affected communities, Gusau said “The Governor has set up a Committee which has been in place since last year. The Committee visited the place yesterday including all other affected communities. That problem of flooding has been there for so many years, but since the governor came in 3 years ago, he set up the Borno State Geographic Information Service (BOGIS) to identify these communities that are prone to flooding and come up with a geographical road map to address them.”
According to him, many people had been relocated to safer places.
He said, BOGIS also identified the issue of people building on the waterways, including roads, adding the government took some measures to reclaim some of the roads, and construct waterways.
He said: “What we’ve been doing is that every year, measures are taken to evacuate the drainages because yes, there’s the lapses on the part of the government, but there’s also a problem on the part of the citizens who dump refuse into drainages.
” There’s a lot of problems but the government has also been evacuating drainages every year before flooding, which was also done this year. The government also introduced monthly sanitation. All of these are aimed at preventing flooding, but unfortunately there are still communities that have suffered the flooding this time around.”
Gusau also stated that Maiduguri lacked good water channelling system to remedy the situation at hand, adding that “There’s no government that could have solved that in less than 3 years, but the government is deeply concerned about it and a lot is being done. Even right now the Committee headed by the former Attorney General, went round some of the communities yesterday, and at the end of the day they are going to brief the governor on some interventions that would be done and where there is a need for humanitarian support, it can be done. When there’s a need for relocation it can be done.”
On casualties recorded and number of houses affected this year, he said “Not to my knowledge. To my knowledge, there might be some destruction due to flooding in Damboa, you know the governor was in Damboa, about 41 people were affected, there was a major relief that the governor announced not only to the victims who were 31 but with about 30,000 other residents. And just like I said, the committee will brief the governor either today or tomorrow because the governor is out of the country, they will meet with him when he comes back and make some recommendations, and I’m sure the governor will seriously consider it.”
THE WHISTLER also reached out to Isma’il Alfa Abdulrahim, a journalist living within the Gomari locality, to ascertain whether claims made by Mustapha regarding the number of people affected by the flooding.
He said, “Yes there was heavy downpour and flooding in Gomari and most of the other parts of Maiduguri. And about the loss of lives, this is untrue because I am a bona-fide member of that community.
“I can tell you, what brought about all this flooding issue is nothing but lack of proper drainage system, which is a problem across the city of Maiduguri.
“For Gomari, we don’t have much flooding problems like Bintu Sugar, Agilari Cross, Sajari, Bulunkutu and so on. So when you talk about flooding and the death of so many people, it calls for an emergency, and nothing like that happened. I’m a journalist and if there should be anything happening there, I’m among the first to know. This is a community where we have stayed since 1975 till date.
“This issue of flooding in Maiduguri is all due to lack of proper layout because most of the communities have their lands sold to them, or given to them by the Bulamas. So it has not gone through the channels of the Ministry of Land and Survey, town planning and the rest of them, to give a mapped out place for building of homes, residential or commercial areas. You will find most of the buildings erected are on the route where water should have gone.”