LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
The Kwara State government has appealed to residents of the state to heed the recent flood alerts which predicted heavy flooding in parts of Nigeria following the steady rise in water levels in River Niger.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Environment, Amosa Isiaka Al-Amin at a news briefing on Sunday in Ilorin, the state capital, said that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has directed that proper enlightenment be done and other preventive steps taken to ensure Kwarans do not fall victims of flooding.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agencies (NIHSA) had recently issued flood alerts in which it predicted various levels of flooding across the country, especially in states straddling the River Niger where water levels have risen above 2010 and 2018 levels.
“Kwara State falls within this axis and this administration felt compelled to officially alert the people to this development and to appeal to Kwarans to cooperate with the state government on the various measures to mitigate the effects of what is often a combination of natural phenomenon, human activities and failure to heed warnings,” Al-Amin told the news briefing.
“The Kwara State Government, led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, hereby appeals to communities located in and near flood plains and other vulnerable areas are to relocate to safer locations.
“Identified communities in Edu Local Government Area such as Iyeluwa, Belle Gbako, Liptata, Edogi, Chewuru are specifically advised to relocate to safer places for a while. Communities in Jebba and Bacita are also urged to take this very seriously for safety reasons.
“Farming along riverine areas should be discouraged for now. Resettlement centres located at Godiwaji in Patigi constructed by the Federal government could be a safer place during this period.
“Residents of communities in Kwara Central like Isale Koko, Dumon, and Abata Sunkere, among others, are advised to heed this warning. Government urges residents of the state to avoid dumping of wastes into river channels or drainages to allow for easy flow of water, while illegal structures along water ways should be demolished.”
The government said flood incidents are often due to high rainfall intensity and rainstorm, blockage of drainage system, poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the flood plains and water ways, river flooding, as well as coastal flooding.
He said while nobody could be blamed for the natural phenomena that might cause flooding, people have a responsibility to avoid actions such as blockage of water ways and indiscriminate dumping of wastes which the top civil servant said often worsen flooding and lead to loss of lives and properties and humanitarian crisis.
Al-Amin, meanwhile, has said the ministry will on Monday flag off some corrective measures to clear Ilorin, the state capital, of indiscriminate dumping of waste and blockage of drainages as part of the efforts to ward off flooding.
He said offenders might be made to face mobile court after which they would be warned to desist from violating environmental laws. He said second offenders might face fines.