In Praise Of Wada’s Housing Scheme for Flood Victims , By Mike Abu

The Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada recently laid the foundation stone for 274 housing scheme for people affected by last year’s flood in Lokoja, the State Capital. Mike Abu, Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Deputy Governor,writes on the commitment and the effort by Government in relocating people living at the flood plain area of the state and in ameliorating the plight of those affected by the last year’s natural disaster.

Everyone shares the right to a decent standard of living. Essential to the achievement of this standard and therefore to the fulfillment of human life beyond simple survival is access to adequate housing. Housing fulfills physical needs by providing security and shelter from weather and climate. Shelter is also a part of human’s daily needs. The primary human needs are food,
clothing, shelter, health care and education. The United Nations estimates that there are over 100 million homeless people and over 1 billion people worldwide inadequately housed.

These statistics are evidence for the difficulty governments have in guaranteeing access to housing for their citizens, but they also raise complicated questions about the extent of the obligations of governments to do so. The fact that shelter is a human need does not imply that governments must provide each one of their citizens with land, four walls and a roof. But in some situations as natural disaster like flood which ravaged states including Kogi last year, government is obligated to help make housing accessible if it has the means.
This was however the situation in Kogi State following the devastating flood of 2012 which greatly affected houses of people who built on flood plains.

Towards finding a permanent relocation arrangement for those affected and to forestall a re-occurrence,a foundation laying for a housing scheme to cater for those affected by the flood and still living by the flood plain was held. Since the foundation laying which was performed by Capt. Idris Wada,the State Governor has attracted positive commendation within and outside the State. The Housing Scheme is one of the continuous efforts aimed at mitigating plights of affected persons and forestalling future damage to lives and properties of citizens of the State.
The State Government’s gesture, considered as unrivaled in the history of States affected by the flood in the country will ensure that about 300 houses are built. Similarly, the project is to be replicated in the other affected Local Government Areas. The ground breaking ceremony which was a Democracy Day gift to the flood affected persons,is costing the State Government N665,000,000.00 with a four months completion period.
The houses which are in two and one bedroom bungalows, is being handled by 105 reputable contractors, with most of the houses already at the roofing stages, to underscore Government’s commitment. The Government’s gesture at providing shelter to affected persons has no doubt
proven doubting Thomases wrong and silenced the rumour making the round over the
flood donation as engineered by critics.
The present administration in the state has by this singular action proven to be responsive, sincere and has being transparent in its dealings with funds meant purposefully to mitigate the impact of the flood of last year.
Aside the housing scheme, all roads damaged by the flood are also under construction at the cost of N423,000,000.00. N81,376,646.55 was also used for the rehabilitation and re-construction of schools used as camps across the State, while N200,000,000.00 was used to embark on accelerated dry season farming on 6,500 hectares along river plains in the flooded LGA’s. This is alongside other monetary support in the provision of Relief Camps by Shelter Box International. Bulk cash assistance that was also given to the affected Local Government Areas at the sum of N139,550,000.00. With the massive post flood sensitization campaign to encourage flood victims to move to upland by the Kogi State Government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Government is not taking any chance towards this year’s predicted flood.
The responsiveness by the Capt. Wada administration in ensuring that its citizens who were affected by the floods last year are assisted to resettle quickly and properly, with the on-going housing scheme under construction is a permanent measure to the problem of flooding in the State. The Wada administration has therefore demonstrated that towards ameliorating and re settling those affected by last year’s flood, it has shown that it has the political will and capacity to be focused and not be distracted.
It has also worked towards achieving its goal of ensuring that though the houses may have been built without government approval on areas not designated for building,through careful planning and a systematic approach, as a government with a human face,it has come to the aid of her citizens by ensuring that the 2012 flood disaster,with its devastating effect, remains a blessing in disguise to those living in flood plain areas.

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