Nigeria: Displaced Hydro Dam Community Still in Tents 7 Months After

Minna — The people of Gungu community, displaced at the peak of the last year's rainy season by flood, are still leaving in tents which were supposed to serve as temporary shelter, seven months after.

North Central Trust recalls that authorities of Zungeru and Shiroro dams had at the peak of the last rainy season, spilled out water to prevent the dams from collapsing following recurring downpour thereby submerging Gungu and other communities living beside the new dam.

The community and others were earlier billed for relocation from the downstream of the dam but their movement was delayed by the inability of the federal government to pay compensation for the loss of their land for the hydroelectric project.

Following the development, some members of the affected communities, especially Gungu, who have no relations in nearby communities to stay with, were evacuated in trucks to Zungeru Central Primarily school, which is designated as temporary camp by the state authority.

The Vice President, Yomi Osinbajo, during a visit to the IDPs in the primary school, directed NEMA to immediately supply building materials at the resettlement site to enable the affected person relocate.

"I have directed NEMA to immediately supply building materials at the new site of resettlement. They are going to start work immediately and we will do our best to help everybody so that all of you will be well taken care of," he had promised.

About a month after the Vice President's promise, the displaced persons, about 500 including women and children, were moved into 30 tents erected at a resettlement site named New Gungu in Wushishi local government area.

However, seven months later the displaced persons are still living in the tents, when our correspondent visited the site yesterday.

The youth leader of the 35 affected communities, Malam Mohammed Sarki and the Sarkin Gungu, Alhaji Yahaya Adamu said the federal government is yet to honour its pledge of supplying building materials to them.

"You can see that some of the tents have worn out and are becoming inhabitable because of the rain, while a few others have been completely blown off by windstorm," Malam Mohammed pointed out.

Our correspondent observed that some of them, who have been paid their compensation, for the loss of their land to the hydroelectric project are already putting up structures.

Sarkin Gungu said the payment, which is being handled by the state government is being done in batches, adding that majority of the affected persons are still waiting for their turn and therefore have to make do with the tents.

He appealed to the federal government to redeem its promise of providing permanent structure before the season peaks.

He also appealed to the government to urgently provide a healthcare centre at the site to take care of the health needs of the people.

Our correspondent noticed that a block of three classrooms, which was constructed by the federal government at the site is being used by the pupils, while the water situation has significantly improved.

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