Thousands of travelers and residents of Lokoja, Kogi State capital are currently stranded as the city has been overrun by heavy flooding.
The Lokoja-Abuja road which connects the North and South has practically been cut off, thereby paralyzing economic activities, including the food supply chain from the North to the South, and vis-a-vis. Wide areas of the state of Kogi are underwater after the Niger and Benue rivers broke their banks. Floods in Lokoja, the state capital of Kogi, Nigeria, in late September 2022. Lokoja sits at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers.
The roughly 196 kilometres of highway is one of the most critical roads in the country, being the major link between the North and South for the movement of people, and goods through vehicular transportation. The road is also very significant to the survival of the nation because it boosts economic activities in the country. It links the entire southern Nigeria to Abuja, the seat of the power, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and to the rest of the northern states and therefore, one of the busiest roads in Nigeria today.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has blamed the current fuel scarcity in Abuja and other surrounding states on the inability of fuel trucks to access Lokoja roads. The regulatory body said the roads had been flooded.
This is as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) assured that there was enough fuel stock and therefore appealed to members of the public to avoid panic buying as all efforts are being made to resolve fuel shortage in some filling stations in Abuja and its environs.
NNPCL group general manager, group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammad said yesterday, it is working assiduously, in collaboration with relevant government agencies, to open up this major highway. “NNPC Ltd wishes to inform the general public that it has sufficient stock of petroleum products and the public should not give in to panic buying.
“The current queue situation in some parts of Abuja and its environs is a result of delays in the arrival of fuel trucks. This is happening as a result of heavy flooding that has submerged parts of the highway passing through Lokoja, Kogi State and also an incidence of a failed road section around Badegi-Agaie highway in Niger state. “Consequently, vehicles, especially fuel tankers, are finding alternative roads to get to their intended destinations,” he said.
He urged that “while we do that, we urge the general public to remain calm and not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products. The current situation is temporary and has nothing to do with the shortage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as the NNPC Ltd has a thirty-day products’ sufficiency”
Reiterating the NNPC, the NMDPRA also urged fuel marketers to desist from hoarding the products. In the same context, Marketers are advised to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians. The Authority wishes to reiterate its commitment to Nigerians to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.” Meanwhile, long queues for petrol persisted yesterday, at filling stations along Kubwa, the central business district (CBD) and airport road in Abuja and its environs.
Recall that parts of Kogi and Benue states have in recent days been flooded due to incessant rain and the release of water from the upper Lado dam in Cameroun. This is a yearly occurrence at this time of the year when most dams in Nigeria and neighouring countries like Cameroun and Niger are overfilled with water.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had on September 19, 2022 warned of massive flooding from Rivers Niger and Benue to 14 states across the nation. NEMA issuing the alert in collaboration with the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, listed Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger Delta, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa states.
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has advised road users traveling to the South-West, South-South and South-East regions of the country to follow alternate routes due to the current flooding around Koton Karfe in Lokoja, Kogi State.
In a public advisory, the FRSC advised motorists traveling to the South-West region of the country to take the Suleja-Bida-Mokwa road, while those traveling to the South-South/South-East were also advised to go through Nasarawa-Oweto Bridge-Adoka-Otupka axis. It said the advisory is due to the fact that the water level may take another two or more days to subside. However, the FRSC spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem could not be reached to confirm the advisory.