The National Association of Mbula Youths Thursday called on the Federal Government to commence the dredging of the River Benue to curtail the perennial flooding that has threatened the existence of the Mbula people and their means of livelihood.

The association made this very important call during a press conference at the NUJ press center, Yola.

Leader of the delegation, Emmanuel Nathaniel Ali who read the statement commended Senator Binos Dauda Yaroe for sponsoring a motion for the dredging of the river Benue to curtail future occurrences.

“A motion has already been moved in the Senate by our representative, Sen. Binos Dauda Yaroe on the dredging of the River Benue, therefore as a body, we lend our voice to his and make this our first prayer to the government and the international community to come to our aid and dredge the Benue. This will also create employment opportunities by encouraging fishing on a commercial scale and boost agriculture through irrigation farming leading to a better state and national economic viability,” the group said.

The association also called on the government and well-spirited individuals to assist those who have been displaced and whose farmlands have been destroyed.

“We also want to call on the government at both the state and national level and also international community and non-governmental organizations to assist our people by providing more relief materials and food items. This will help curb hunger and malnutrition among both the young and old,” he added.

The 2022 flood has so far wreaked havoc in 31 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. The federal government estimates that about 6.3 million children under five may suffer from malnutrition across the Sahel this year as the floods damaged crops and other food sources which may cause hunger in Nigeria, and the figures are likely to worsen. Adamawa, Anambra, Gombe, Jigawa, parts of Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Delta, Benue, Nasarawa, etc. are some of the states where farmers suffered losses, and some even lost their lives.

To avoid future occurrences, the group called on the government at the National level to raise to duty by completing work on the Dasin Hausa Dam in Dasin village of Fufore. “Having the enormous damage and risk caused by this flooding, the government should make this project a priority to avoid more harm. This is our cry and prayer to both private individuals, the government, international governmental organizations as well as international nongovernmental organizations. The damage is huge and we cannot afford to continue this way.”

“As we address the world today over this plague, it is sad to note that most communities in Mbula are still flooded. People have been displaced, farmlands completely washed away by the flood, and our houses destroyed and flattened to the ground. We cannot continue to suffer like this.

“This ugly situation is controllable. Our people can no longer continue to live on relief materials each time flooding occurs. Something has to be done drastically and in the right direction to curtail this monster otherwise, no one knows the level of damage it will cause tomorrow. From Mbula Kuli to Borrong. Dilli and Dwam are all taken over by the blood. Some of our people as we speak sleep outside in harsh weather conditions because their houses have been destroyed.

“Our children have become emaciated because there is no sufficient food to eat, and all the crops have been destroyed. The losses incurred are much not to talk of valuable assets and properties that have been submerged. Our investigation revealed several Mbula communities have been taken over by this flood displacing quite a several families while others who are conservatives prefer to remain in their ancestral homes even though their houses had been destroyed. This they do to save the only thing they believe they still have; self-esteem. The potential threat which we believe will be suffered in installments in the days ahead cannot be fully appraised at the moment. But all the predisposing factors for diseases causing organisms to thrive are right now in place as occasioned by the floods,” they added.

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development have revealed that this year’s flooding has claimed more than 300 lives, 90,000 homes destroyed and 70,000 farms also ravaged, a situation the Mbula youths forum said should not be allowed to happen again.

They appreciate the Adamawa state governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the Murum Mbula, and the chairman Demsa local government area for their continued support and efforts towards ameliorating the hardship that people are going through.