Residents of Ganaja community and environs in Lokoja town, Kogi State have resorted to commuting to work and business locations by canoe as flood takes over access roads.
According to reports that many settlements along Ganaja road stretching several kilometres have long been submerged and inaccessible, even as many have been forced to abandon their homes amid rising water levels.
The development cut off motorists and commuters traveling to and from the East, forcing a detour through the deplorable Okene-Benin road.
A few, whose homes have not yet been affected abandoned their vehicles and other transport means by navigating to their business areas and offices by canoes.
A top journalist and member of the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Alhaji Ali Atabor, said the situation called for urgent intervention by the federal government.
He said for many days he, like many residents of the area, have resorted to the use of canoes as alternative means of transportation despite the attendant risks and high fares.
“For a distance of about 500 meters, we pay N200 depending on your bargain ability.
“You are exposed to risk because there’s no life jacket, and control mechanism to ensure that the operators adhere to safety guidelines,” he noted.
According to him, the flood situation is beyond the capacity of the state government.
“We are appealing to the federal government to intervene in order to bring relief to motorists and other users of the road.
“Those going to work from this corridor are adversely affected, including students and pupils who are now home as a result of the flooded road,” he lamented.
Also, Mr Augustine Uchendu said the situation has further exacerbated the hardships thrown up by COVID-19 fallouts, adding that business activities are stalled by the development.
“Petty traders who operated along the Ganaja road are forced to close shop due to flood situation and this further compounded the suffering the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic triggered,” he lamented.
Abdulkarim Aruwa, a boat operator said although the flood situation was unfortunate, it has no doubt enhanced their business especially that navigation through the main river routes has become turbulent and risky.
“This time of the year, patronage is always low because prospective travelers prefer to use the roads because of fear of capsizing.
“However, with the flood cutting off movement on the road, we are taking advantage of the situation,” he said.
Daily Trust reports that no fewer than nine local government council areas have been submerged by flood as the rain intensifies, according to the statistics by the state’s emergency officials.
The affected councils include Ibaji, Koton Karfe, Ajaokuta, Igalamela, Lokoja, Ofu, Bassa, Idah, and Omala respectively.
Irked by the development, the State House of Assembly through a motion by the member representing Kogi Koton-Karfe constituency, Hon. Abubakar Tanko Muhammed called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the flood situation in the state.