Following the devastating effect of flood in major highways in Kebbi State, the state government is contemplating closure of an international highway linking Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The Birnin Kebbi-Makera-Kangiwa Highway is at risk of caving in at Duku, 40 kilometres to the border with Nigeria’s northern neighbour.
The Guardian observed, yesterday, that some of the minor bridges and culverts along the highway are caving in, due to erosion caused by rising water overflowing nearby Rima River. Already, five bridges in different parts of the state have been washed away by flood, according to the chairman, Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Sani Dododo.
The flood, which began two weeks ago, following heavy rains, has been wreaking havoc in 11 of the state’s 21 Local Government Areas, including the famous Argungu Resort, claiming lives, destroying property and cutting off several communities from the state capital.
Dododo and Kebbi State Information Service Deputy Director, Umaru Rasheed Gulma, disclosed 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 from Rima River, a tributary of River Sokoto in Sokoto State, posing a threat to motorists and other road users.
“The state government is considering closing the road to avoid it caving in suddenly and trapping vehicles,” Dododo said.
Ten villages at Duku, with hundreds of mostly rice and millet farms along the highway were submerged.
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 their belongings with canoes. Gulma told reporters that Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was providing relief materials and had concluded plans to move internally displaced persons (IDPs) to a resettlement camp in nearby Kalgo Local Government Area.
Thousands of hectares are also reeling under the strain of the environmental disaster. The worst hit is Bagudo Local Council Area, where the level of destruction was enormous.
Many houses were destroyed, livestock and farmlands submerged and residents currently taking shelter in IDP camps.
The Bagudo Prison, in Bagudo Local Council Area was also submerged, leading to evacuation of inmates to Birnin Kebbi prison on Friday. The Bagudo airstrip was also not spared, as it was taken over by water.
The Bagudo-Tuga-Kaoje route, which leads to Benin Republic border, including the Tuga Bridge were also submerged, cutting off border communities.
In Jega Local Council, hometown of former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, farmlands belonging to about 50,000 farmers were said to have been destroyed by flood overflowing River Zamfara.