Mishaps: HYPADEC, NIWA to clear trees, rocks on waterways


The Hydroelectric  Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) in collaboration with the National Inland Waterways Authority  (NIWA) have resolved to clear trees and rocks that are responsible for boat mishaps along riverine areas across the country.

The representative of Kogi state who is also a commissioner in the commission, Alhaji Isah Ozi Salami, stated this  Thursday at Government House, Lokoja during a stakeholders town hall meeting involving Bassa, Ibaji, Lokoja , Kogi/Koton-Karfe and Ofu local government areas to interface with communities affected by perennial flooding in the state.

He noted that the clearing of trees and rocks became expedient to avert boat mishaps that has claimed many lives along riverine areas in Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Kebbi, saying the recent boat mishaps at Yauri in Kebbi state where over 200 people lost their lives calls  for concern.

Ozi Salami urged boat users to always wear safety jacket as a precaution measure to avoid unnecessary death on waterways, noting that NIWA has also declared their readiness to break rocks that constitute hazard to boats on waterways.

“What we want to do now is to see how we can remove some of the shrubs, trees that grow along the riverine beds so that we can avoid future boat mishaps because it is better to prevent such incident from happening.

Speaking on the significant of the stakeholders meeting, the elder statesman said: “When HYPADEC took off in March 2021, the Governing Council visited governors of states under the purview of the commission and similar visits was extended to traditional rulers, women organisations and youth groups and we are in Kogi state to collate the complaints and request of the flood affected communities to enable the commission attend to the challenges.”

While expressing optimism that the commission would wipe away the perennial worries of flood communities,  the Kogi representative said HYPADEC cannot succeed without the support of the stakeholders.

He appealed to them to give support and cooperation to the commission to discharge its responsibility to the riverine people.

He assured that the commission is striving hard to lay a solid foundation that would continue to pave ways for the development of communities along riverine areas in the states under HYPADEC.

The state commissioner for Environment, Victor Omafaye, who represented the state government at the meeting,  stated that  more than 200 ecological sites due to erosion  have already been captured across the three senatorial districts of the state.

He added that government is doing a lot to tackle the menace of erosion through the effort of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in collaboration with the World Bank.

He noted that the issue of protection of environment should be a general concern and warned people against indiscriminate dumping of refuse along water channels to avoid flooding during rainy season.

In his goodwill message the Ohimege of Koton-Karfe kingdom, Alhaji Abdulrazak Isah-Koto, lamented that communities affected by flood in 2012 have not recovered after almost eleven years.