Authorities of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) says demolition of structures on flood plains in Lokogoma area a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory is inescapable.
The FCT Administration said the action would bring about permanent solution to the perenial flooding, which has continued to claim lives and property of its inhabitants.
The Director, department of Engineering Services, FCDA, Ahmed Hadi said this while addressing a press conference after a tour of the affected area in Lokogoma District, Abuja.
A team of relevant departments of the FCDA visited the area following a recent flooding incident that claimed the life of a 17-year old boy.
Hadi said that, “the crisis at Lokogoma is a recurring issue. It was an issue that occured in the later part of 2017, but from the period we had the flooding, the Permanent Secretary, Christian Ohaa led a team, including the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Umar Jibrin to the spots and what we noticed on ground, majorly was that properties were being developed on waterways, which has constricted two major rivers of Wamba and Kabusa, which the residents’ association has been taking up on these issues.”
“The FCTA has been determined on resolving these issues. There are two major issues that confronted us on Lokogoma. Lokogoma and it’s entire mass housing estates was cut off from ring Road II, and then the issue of flooding. But first, the district must be accessed in and out. We had mobilised one of our major contractors to go and carry out emergency work to restore the major access into Lokogoma, because that is an arterial road -the like of Ahmadu Bello Way,” he stated.
According to him, “the other portion the FCTA has a problem is that of encroachment. We have to take a decision. Water must have either course. It is a wise saying and it is also an engineering position.”
”If there are developments constricting water ways, it is only a matter of time; it will definitely find its way, and that is even worsen by the position of the two major rivers, converging at a confluence point, turning into one waterway, which also affected a second location. What we saw on sites are buildings clearly submerging along the water courses. We got Development Control department to mark out these illegal structures and to engage the residents to accept whether we have to allow these properties for which the authorities have an obligation to see to the protection of the FCT residents and for this, we have to remove this properties. At least, above any personal interest, so that the larger neighbourhood in Lokogoma estate can remain safer and that is what we are trying to do,”Hadi explained.
He said; “Already, we are under the 2019 budget and a case has been made for the development of this arterial road which will now take its course, to extend from Ring Road II, up to Road S30, a semblance of the Oladipo Diya road, around Gudu market, Apo mechanic village down to….by these we would have brought along the major drainage points along these roads, then we can now channel all the issues from Kabusa and Lokogoma into it.
“That is what we are trying to do in the 2019 budget year, but in the mean time, most of these properties are without approvals. Most of them are illegal. So it is not even the issue of having to go for compensation. But if anybody can present evidence of approval….otherwise the Development Control department has told us that most of them are illegal.”
The Director of Engineering however, expressed genuine sympathy of the FCT Administration to the family who lost a 17-year old boy.
The Chairman, Lokogoma residents association, Dr. Joseph Nnorom said the issue of compensation should be put on the front burner, not back burner.
Dr. Nnorom appealed to government to save the residents from the situation the developer has put them into.
He said they were not squatters, and did not allocate land to themselves and built without supervision.
It could be recalled that, apart from the 17 years old boy who was killed by the flood, no fewer than three persons, a father, son and daughter were lost to the flood in 2017.