Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of the over 15,000 indigenes displaced by flooding, which has also resulted in financial loss to the tune of N10 billion.
The Governor made the appeal when he met with President Muhammadi Buhari to request for federal aid to for the victims of flood disasters this year.
Speaking to State House Correspondents, Governor Abdulrazaq explained that the recent floods in the State have caused financial losses to the tune of between N5 to N10 billion, led to the displacement of 15,000 people and the submerging of thousands of hectres of land, leading to a very poor harvest.
The Governor said he has secured the President’s promise to help the State and that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has promised that the cycle for assistance will be shorter than the regular six months.
Speaking more on the purpose of his visit, the Governor said:
‘I came to the President, among other things, to discuss ecological and developmental issues. And over the weekend, we had huge rainstorm that destroyed about 5,000 houses in the State capital. We had huge flooding in Kwara North and the bank of River Niger. There are a lot of internally displaced people at the bank of River Niger and in the State capital. The State needs virtual aid to abate the crisis.’
On President Buhari’s response, the Kwara Governor said: ‘Very proactive, the Federal Government is coming in to assist the State. The new General Manager (GM) at National Emergence Agency (NEMA) is also coming to Kwara to see the situation for himself. Already, NEMA is on ground in Kwara. He promised that the cycle will be shorter this time around. Before, after flooding, it will take up to six months before the aid comes in. But he has promised that things have been turned around at NEMA and they will act promptly. I believe him because he is an ex-Airforce officer. It will be regimented.’
Speaking on the extent of damage caused by the flood, Abdulrazaq said: ‘We have about 5,000 houses and thousands of hectares of farmland are under water. Close to about 10,000 to 15,000 people are already displaced so far. So, it’s straining the State’s economy. That is why we need virtual aid.’
On how the flooding has affected food security, the Governor said: ‘Luckily for us, we did two cycles of rice farming in the area affected. We are hoping to do three cycles. Yes, there is huge impact. We are expecting bumper harvest this season, especially with Federal Government’s intervention in the agricultural sector. But unfortunately, we are going to lose this harvest and we hope we will be able to gain ground.
‘We also thank Federal Government as they gave 10,000 Hectares Irrigation Scheme to boost our dry season farming. That project is on course now.
‘The first line were things like blankets, buckets, food, roofing sheets, and building materials generally. After that come things like fertilizers, pesticides, and seedlings to help them recover.’
Asked to quantify the losses, Mr Abdulrazaq said: ‘We are checking about N5 to N10 billion in losses.’
Asked what efforts the State Government has been made and how much have you spent, Governor Abdulrazaq said: ‘Immediately it started, we had NEMA on ground and State Emergency Management Agency. The first thing you do is to collate data. We have been collating data. And from today, palliatives have started going out. We also thank God because of some of food donated by CACOVID to Kwara State. Some of them are in the warehouse. So, they are very handful and useful in what we are doing.’