Some victims of flooding and residents in Kogi state on Saturday commended the management of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for releasing two boats that ferry victims to Koton-Karfe, Kogi.
In a chat with News Agency Nigeria (NAN), at Koton-Karfe, some of the victims described the gesture as a “big relief” to the troubled region, even as they posited that the intervention was timely given the hardship in the gridlock between Natako and Koton-Karfe on the Abuja-Lokoja highway.
Alhaji Musa Yusuf, an Abuja based businessman, said that he had been stranded in Kogi for three days as a result of the gridlock.
“I’m so grateful to the management of NIWA for the initiative and release of the ferry boats to enable some us to cross over to Koton-Karfe, where we can pick a car to continue with our trip.
“You may not believe it that I left Lagos on Wednesday morning only to get held up here in Lokoja. But by God’s grace I shall get to Abuja to join my family today,” Yusuf said.
Mrs. Joan Dele, a public servant, said that she didn’t know about the boat services being offered by NIWA until a friend told her about it after she had lost the hope of traveling to Kaduna to see her daughter in a school.
“In fact, I’m so glad that we can have this kind of free service to help us to over come the challenges of the devastating flooding. You can see how happy those of us who jumped off the boat here at Koton-Karfe; from here we can take a vehicle that will take us to Zuba park in Abuja,” she said.
Speaking on the boat services, Mr. Jibril Darda’u, NIWA General Manager, Corporate Affairs, said that it was out of the concern of the authority on the plights of victims of the flood in Kogi.
“We realised that motorists and commuters were finding it difficult to cross over Murtala Mohammed Bridge to get to Koton-Karfe due the flooded Abuja-Lokoja highway. NIWA Managing Director, Dr. George Moghalu on Wednesday, gave a directive for the release of the boats to provide services for stranded travellers in Ganaja Village, Lokoja and Koton Karfe of Kogi, ” he explained.
Darda’u said that the take-off point to either Koton-Karfe or Ganaja Village is the Authority’s Dockyard at 8am, 10am. and noon on daily basis.