TAMING THE FURY OF FLOOD IN KATSINA.
No life survives without the elements, but excess of the elements poses serious threat to survival. While the absence or scarcity of rains results in draught, its abundance often brings about flood, with the attendant devastation in the form of loss of life and property.
Such has been the lot for most states in Nigeria, with particular vengeance in some, where such devastation has become a recurrent decimal, perennially.
Though Katsina may not be termed as an acutely flood prone state, perhaps on account of not being contagious to any large body of water, still a number of communities become apprehensive at the commencement of the rainy season, for fear of floods. And the state has had its fair share of floods, some with devastating consequences. One of such was the flood that ravaged Jibia town in 2018, which resulted in scores of fatalities and extensive loss of properties. And some of the urban centres, notably Katsina and Malumfashi towns, among others, do feel the fury of flood, even though on a scale far less than the Jibia catastrophe.
In these places, unplanned erection of structures, such as residential buildings, on or close to waterway, is essentially the cause of the perennial flooding.
Thankfully, the current APC administration in the state, under the leadership of Governor Aminu Bello Masari has from its inception in 2015, risen to the challenge, spending no less than N2.5billion on a deliberate policy to tame, and save Katsina from, the fury of flood.
On a more ambitious scale, are ongoing projects in Katstina (the state capital), Jibia, Malumfashi and Funtua in a gigantic multi billion naira Storm water and Drainage Management scheme, under the State and World Bank jointly funded Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The Katsina and environs project involves the construction of an 11-kilometre-5m wide concrete-lined drainage stretching from Kofar Guga through Sabuwar Kofa down to Shinkafi Bridge.
These projects are being handled by two reputable construction companies, Mothercat and Triacta, with the former handling Katsina and Jibia, while the latter handles Malumfashi and Funtua.
And Governor Masari leaves no one in doubt about his commitment to ensure timely completion of the projects without prejudice to specifications, as he keeps vigil with regular unscheduled inspection visits to the various sites. So also is he on the neck of the officials of the supervising ministry, the Ministry of Environment, whose Commissioner, Alhaji Hamza Sule Faskari, has so far proven that a square peg has been placed in a square hole. Like the Governor, the Commissioner has also remained up and doing to ensure project execution remains on course, as planned.
So far, and so good, the Masari administration has undertaken (some completed and others in various stages of completion) the construction of flood control structures in 122 locations covering over 150 communities.
These projects include:
(i) 88,537m of combined reinforced concrete-lined, block-lined and mansory-lined drainages,
(ii) 1,910m of retaining wall,
(iii) 360m of drift,
(iv)104 culverts, and
(v) 1,550m of dyke/embankment.
In the state capital and environs, alone, the intervention saw to the construction of 21,139m reinforced concrete-lined, block-lined and mansory-lined drainages, and 24 box culverts.
And the intervention goes on.