THE authorities of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), on Saturday, announced their decisions to demolish structures on waterways, especially at affected areas in Lokogoma District, with a view to bringing a permanent solution to the perennial flooding in the area.
It will be recalled that apart from a 17-year old boy, who lost his life during the torrential rain on Thursday, no fewer than three persons including a father, son and daughter were lost to the flood in 2017.
Addressing newsmen shortly after a tour of the affected areas in Abuja, the Director, Department of Engineering Services, FCDA, Engineer Ahmed Shehu Hadi, lamented that the crisis in the area was a recurring issue and the authority had decided to find a lasting solution to it.
He, however, expressed the sympathy of the FCT administration to the family a 17-year old boy who lost his life to the incident.
According to him: “the crisis at Lokogoma is a recurring issue. It was an issue that occurred in the later part of 2017, but from the period we had the flooding, the Permanent Secretary, Sir. Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa led a team, including the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Engineer Umar Gambo 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 is 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.
“The other portion, the FCTA has a problem which 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.
“And if there are developments constricting waterways, it is only a matter of time, it will definitely find its way, and that is even worsened by the position of the two major rivers, converging at a confluence point, turning into one waterway, which also affected a second location.
“And if the effort is not made to remove all the constrictions and diversion of the streams to restore the natural watercourse,
What we saw on sites are buildings clearly submerging along with the watercourses.
“We got Development Control Department (DCD) 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 these 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.
“Already, we are under the 2010 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 and by this, 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 meantime, 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, no problem, otherwise the DCD has told us that most of them are illegal,” he explained.
Chairman, Lokogoma Residents Association, Dr Joseph Nnorom, while speaking, differed, pointing out that the issue of compensation should be put on the front burner, not the back burner.
He appealed to the FCT administration to save the residents from the situation the developer has put them into, even as he wondered where the enforcement authorities were when the buildings were been put up.
Dr Nnorom said the residents were not squatters and did not allocate land to themselves or built without supervision.