Reprieve came the way of stranded motorists along Lokoja-Abuja road, as the Federal Government directed the opening of identified bye-passes along the road on Wednesday. Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolemenen, disclosed to State House correspondents, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
Onolemenen said that the bye-passes which had been created around the flooded area would be opened to motorists from Thursday.
He said government had engaged construction giants in the country to create the bye-passes as a temporary measure to ease the suffering of commuters.
``What we’ve been doing since yesterday morning is that around the flooded area, we identified a bye-pass which we have created.
``As at this morning, we have attained about 60 per cent completion. From the way we are going, by tomorrow, the road should be opened to motorists.
``We have done a diversion at those drainages and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened.
``For us, that was a national priority because we needed to open that particular transport corridor so that movement between the southern states and the northern states will not be impaired.
``We have done that and I want Nigerians to be assured that government is with them in this situation and that government will continue to do all in its power to ensure that the pains are reduced to the barest minimum.’’
Speaking in the same vein, Minister of Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia, said a Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to assess the impact of flooding across the country presented a preliminary report to Council.
She said the committee visited seven states to ascertain the extent of impact of the flood on life and infrastructure and to identify immediate areas of intervention.
``The most devastating that we have witnessed is that of Kogi State where we have a major road completely made impassable.
``We have also seen a lot of infrastructure submerged and witnessed very traumatising experiences by people that were affected,’’ she said.
Mailafia said among the consequences of the flooding was huge loss of farmlands which might likely pose a threat to food security.
The minister said academic calendar was affected, people were displaced and there was likelihood of health challenges in the affected areas.
She underscored the need for Nigerians to make concerted efforts towards addressing the challenges of climate change.
She said the River Niger which over-flew its bank in Lokoja flows from Guinea Conakry through the northern region where there was acute desertification.
Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, also refuted the report that the flooding in Kogi was as a result of the dredging carried out on the River in Lokoja