By Soni Daniel – Bernin Kebbi
Troubled by rampaging floods which have washed off many portions of the Nigeria-Niger Highway, the Kebbi State Government is considering closing parts of the road.
Already, the state has revamped the Internally Displaced Peoples camp at Kalgo with a view to moving natives of 11 worst-affected communities to the camp to prevent imminent threats to their lives.
The Birnin Kebbi-Makera-Kangiwa Highway, which runs from the state capital Birnin Kebbi, is at risk of caving in at Duku, 40 kilometres to the border with Nigeria’s northern neighbour.
Some of the minor bridges and culverts along the highway are being eroded.
Already, five bridges in different parts of the state have been washed away by the flood, according to the Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) chairman, Alhaji Sani Dododo.
The floods, which began two weeks ago following heavy rains, have been wreaking havoc in 11 of the state’s 21 local governments, claiming lives, destroying property and cutting off several communities from the state capital.
Dododo and Kebbi State Information Service Deputy Director, Umaru Rasheed Gulma, told journalists during a tour of the area that portions of the Duku section of the road might not withstand further erosion.
They said the erosion was caused by water rushing over 10 kilometres inland after overflowing the nearby Rima River.
It was, they explained, a threat to motorists and other road users compelled the state to mull the closure of the road.
“The state government is considering closing the road to avoid it caving in suddenly and trapping vehicles,” Dododo said.
No fewer than 11 villages at Duku, with hundreds of mostly rice and millet farmers along the highway, were seen struggling to salvage the remnants of their property from the rampaging floods.
The villages are: Wabaku Hausawa, Wabaku Fulani, Bori, Dukuwo, Kalango, Ungwa Kayi, Ungwa Alunmadi, Bokulo, Akwara, Takaluwu and Gawassu.
The residents, cut off from the highway, were seen evacuating the belongings via canoes.
In Jega LGA, the hometown of former Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, farmlands belonging to no fewer than 50,000 farmers were destroyed by the floods overflowing River Zamfara.