Written by David LAWANI

Lokogoma flooding: one year after, residents still lament

It’s almost a year now since three members of the Nwaogu family drowned in a flash flood that swept through the Galadimawa-Lokogoma axis of Abuja in August, 2017.

The late Kenneth Nwaogu lost his life alongside those of his two children when the family’s Toyota Highlander SUV was overpowered by the raging flood on their way to summer lessons.

The 49 year old father reportedly died in the canal while trying to rescue his daughter, 15, and son, 11, who were being washed by the flood while trying to escape from the car that was been submerged in the powerful floods.

Residents had blamed the tragedy on the absence of infrastructure like good road network, drainages and quality bridges in the area. They say the availability of good drainages system would have checked the heavy flooding and large scale erosion that the area is prone to especially during rainy seasons.

The unfortunate incident has since left a lot of questions on the minds of many, even as different groups have tried to draw government attention to the dangers of non-compliance with building regulations in erection of estates in the Federal Capital Territory.

Unfortunately, it seems like the loss of three residents of the area may have not triggered the expected response from the FCT administration or estate developers. Oftentimes basic facilities like good roads and drainages are missing in estates, exposing occupants to the dangers of leaving in flood prone areas.

A visit to some estates in Lokogoma shows the absence of good road networks. Residents have been made to grapple the harsh realities faced during the rainy season.

Some residents who spoke with METRO said the provision of good road networks and drainage remain the surest way to avert further loss of lives and properties in estates in the sprawling Lokogoma area.

Mrs. Imafidon Julius, a federal civil servant resident in one of the estates, called for urgent intervention from the FDCA so as to avoid a repeat of such tragedy.

“In the last one year, no much work has been done. We have continued to experience flooding whenever it rains and much of our properties are usually destroyed. We have been calling on the FCDA to come to our rescue and it seems they are not interested in addressing the overwhelming issues we face here.

“The major thing I would want them to do for us is to ensure that the drainages are in good and proper shape. The flooding is usually very huge and frightening. Only the FCDA through the federal government can intervene on this issue. We have continued to appeal to them yet no response. This is a beautiful estate but it lacked basic facilities. They can assist us by putting necessary measures in place by making sure that the estate is safe for everybody to live in. They can do better than they are currently doing. They seem to be working but they are not addressing the main issues.”

She said the estate also lack amenities like adequate power supply and security, adding that “there is no security as residents continue to suffer attacks of different kind. Armed robbers continue to have a field day robbing and dispossessing occupants of the estate of valuable items. We look forward to their speedy intervention as the estate urgently need proper security in place.

Another resident, Engr. Abiodun Moses, an estate developer in his contribution, stated that it is unfortunate that as strategic as Lokogoma is with several estates sited in the area, it has been neglected by the FCDA and Satellite Towns Development Department, STDD, who are supposed to be in charge of designs and other necessary feasibility modalities.

“We are not having the best in terms of erosion management whenever it rains. You need to witness the volume of water that we experience when it rains around this particular axis of the estate. There is no proper channelization of the water. The drainage is none existent and it is really very sad to say. How can an estate as big as Lokogoma not having the best of facilities? It is appalling and I want to use this medium to call on the authority concern to come to our aid as this is more than what an individual or few groups of person can handle. It is a huge project no doubt.

“I am not disputing the fact that there are no good roads within the estate itself but my concern which is everybody’s too is that the main road leading to the estate is in shamble. The road has become haven for unscrupulous elements. Residents are made to part with some of their valuable items. This is not the best such estate as big as it is can offer.”

The coordinator, Paulash Community Development Initiative, Mrs. Folashade Okomayin, who is also a resident of Lokogoma, lamented the helplessness of residents and business owners.

In her words, "I am disturbed by way of neglect of this estate. We don’t have good road in this area. The FCDA/STDD whichever body is saddled with the development of this area should kindly show concern. They kept on carry out palliative work that doesn’t take anyone anywhere. This place is as if it is not part of FCT and it is that bad. The skeletal measures are nothing to write home about.

“We need serious intervention here. Imagine as big as this estate no streetlight. No sign to show that there is government presence at all. We suffer complete abandonment as far as this place is concern.”

Our correspondent observed that from MINFA 1 to V, 1st Generation, EFAB, SAHARA 1and 2, no drainage was sited thereby exposing the area to torrential flooding any time it rains. The situation is much better at the Pent CITT AND Nzugbe axis of Lokogoma where some form of water channel was made. Though not a proper drainage, the channel allows for passage of water and minimize their risk of flooding in the area.

Effort like this is testament to the fact that if not for private individuals and developers, the FCDA/ STDD shows no commitment avoiding a repeat of last year’s disaster.

Though tractors and construction workers were sighted at the Lokogoma junction, the site engineer declined comment on modalities put in place to hasten work on the road before the rains become heavier. Although repair work is ongoing on the road there were no signs of plans to construct drainages along the road.

Calls to the coordinator and public relations officer of STDD to find out why no substantial drainages work is going on at Lokogoma, were not answered or returned.









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