Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Director General of National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) AVM Muhammadu A Muhammad(retd) has urged the State governments across Nigeria to start desilting river channels,canals to control flooding across the country and made provisions of shelters for evacuated victims.
Muhammad, who stated this in Birnin Kebbi during his visit to Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and 1 Battalion Nigerian Army, Dukku Barracks, Birnin Kebbi, also sought urgent intervention of Nigerian Army Forces Engineering department to repair collapsed bridges.
NEMA DG, who was represented by Engineer James Akujobi, Director General Service, said they were in Kebbi on advocacy on the 2020 flood, explained that, the annual flooding reoccurrences has continue to threatening states known as food producers especially Kebbi State with largely citizens engaged in farming activities.
According to him, ‘the annual occurrences of flood have continued to threaten this potential. Flood has become a recurring experience in Nigeria. After the 2012 devastating flood, a similar one occurred in 2018 leading to a declaration of disaster emergency in many states. Though climate change has been largely blamed for this increasing phenomenon, it is our responsibility as government and people to evolve strategies to minimize losses through adherence to warning alerts, early preparation and proper response.
‘May I draw the attention of Your Excellency to the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction and the Annual Flood Outlook. These documents have forecasted flood situation for different parts of the country. The Annual Flood Outlook informed that 102 Local Government Areas, in 28 States fall within the highly probable risk areas, while 275 Local Government Areas in the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas. The remaining 397 Local Government Areas fall within the low probable flood risks areas.
‘Unfortunately, the predicted floods have started to occur in many parts of the country. Therefore, it is imperative to activate all plans and measures against the prediction as the season moves towards the peak.’
Muhammad noted that the highly probable flood risk areas in Kebbi State are Dandi and Bunza Local Government Areas.
He requested the State Government to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing these issues, such as directing the State Emergency Management Agency, frontline Local Government Authorities and other response Agencies to put in place preparedness actions.
‘We also request that there should be carrying out public enlightenment campaigns, targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safe ground; Identifying high grounds for possible Internally Displaced Persons camps, to shelter evacuated communities;
‘Desilting river channels and canals; Removing all refuse and weeds from water channels, drainages, and all avenues for river run offs so as to allow free flow of flood waters; Organizing State Humanitarian Coordination Forum meeting to prepare all stakeholders for mitigation and response. Prepositioning relief materials for prompt response after the flood.’
The Agency also took the advocacy to the Nigerian Army, 1 Battalion, Dukku Barracks, Birnin Kebbi, where they met the Acting Commandant, Major Ibinabo Orumabo, Acting Commandant 1 Battalion, Nigeria Army, Dukku Barracks.
In his remarks, Governor Bagudu, who was represented by the SSG, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, assured the agency that the state government would support the agency to alleviate the suffering of flood victims in the state through SEMA.
Major Ibinabo Orumabo, Acting Commandant 1 Battalion, Nigeria Army, Dukku Barracks, while addressing the Agency team, promised that Nigerian Army are ready to render it services to Nigerians at any time stressed that ‘we shall continue to deploy our resources to help at any time there is emergency.
‘We shall continue to support NEMA, SEMA if there is emergency, we shall get our resources to assist. We are ready to support anytime we are call upon,’ he said.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman of SEMA in Kebbi State, Alhaji Sanni Dododo, disclosed that 33 lives have been lost to the flood since its started,while many bridges, communities including Argungu, Jega,Bunza, Ngaski, and over 20 local government areas have been affected.
He solicited the urgent intervention of Nigerian Army Forces Engineering Department to repair collapsed bridges across the state and protected the weaken bridges from total collapse.