Vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday announced that the federal government would urgently dredge the River Benue and construct necessary drainages as permanent solution to the perennial flooding in Benue State.
Prof Osinbajo made the disclosure while addressing victims of the recent flood at the Makurdi International Market, IDPs camp.
“I am in the state at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out on-the- spot assessment of the areas affected by the ravaged flood and to sympathize with the victims, government and people of Benue State,” the vice president said.
He noted that if the River Benue is dredged, it would create massive job opportunities and enhance social and economic status of the state.
Earlier, the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom commended the federal government for responding swiftly to the state’s distress call through the provision of relief materials for the victims.
He disclosed that apart from the eight trucks of pre-assessment relief materials earlier sent to the by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) he has been informed of about additional five trucks that is on its way courtesy of the federal government. He added that the Nasarawa State government has also assisted the state with five trucks of relief materials alongside many other philanthropists.
Ortom, however, appealed to federal government to as a matter urgency complete the construction of Idye, Wurukum and old Assembly quarters drainages which was started in 2004 at the cost of N2 billion through the World Bank Ecological Funds.
The Benue State deputy governor, Benson Abounu, during the inspection tour of the Idye drainage channel by the Vice President intimated that the contract for the construction of the Idye drainage was awarded to CAD construction company Abuja where only N750 million was expended and later abandoned.
“This project started in 2004 when I was the state commissioner for Water Resources but could not be completed which is evident in what you are seeing here today. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the federal government to complete the project so as to save the people of the state of this ecological and flood menace.’’