From Idu Jude, Abuja
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has added its voice to numerous calls for immediate assistance from spirited Nigerians and corporate bodies to donate items for flood victims across the country.
The Director General of the Agency, Dr Garba Abari, made the call Thursday in Abuja while briefing the media on the floor updates and damages across the country.
According to the NOA DG, the situation calls for urgent intervention by all and sundry. He said that it is, by no means, a burden that government alone can bear.
Dr Abari said that “the existential challenge of the current flooding in parts of Nigeria is one of such national trying moments that call for every one of us to summon that humanity and brotherly compassion that Nigerians are known for. We must rise up to answer the clarion call of being our brothers’ keepers in this time of need. It is a time when those who can help must reach out a hand to those who need help.”
The NOA DG further reiterated that his leadership objective is clear about what Nigeria need to do as an institution in cases like this. He said that its mandate requires the Agency to encourage the people to actively and freely participate in discussions and decisions on matters affecting the general welfare of all Nigerians and the country.
“We, therefore, call on all citizens, individual and corporate organizations to mobilize and send aid to flood-ravaged individuals and communities, both in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and elsewhere. Faith-based organisations and non-governmental organizations are particularly encouraged to organize and mobilize their members to provide relief to affected communities. The general public is called upon to provide aids such as foodstuff, drinking water, beddings, blankets, wrappers, camping gas, cooking utensils, detergents, sanitary packs, toiletries, mosquito nets and medications to the victims of flood,” Dr Abari stated.
He also indicated that these aids, be they financial, material or physical, will go a long way to ameliorate the sufferings of compatriots. Indeed, even within affected communities, those who are least affected should offer support to those who are more affected by offering food, clothes, shelter, help with evacuation and other forms of assistance.
The NOA DG has disclosed that the agency is currently partnering with the Super Bike Clubs Association of Nigeria on a campaign to ensure food security, national cohesion and prevention of malaria in the aftermath of the floods. The campaign is a five-day event to promote the eradication of malaria and water-borne diseases as well as food security in six focus states of Nasarawa Plateau, Gombe, Kano, Katsina and Kaduna.
He said that it acknowledges the generous effort of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the North East Development Commission in distributing relief materials to some of the affected communities. It also acknowledges the effort of some State Governments in this regard, including those of Bayelsa, Rivers, Kogi, Lagos, Anambra and Taraba.
However, he stressed that what needs to be done is for local government and community leaders to ensure that those whose sources of livelihood were affected are given psychosocial support, including counselling and social safety assistance.
In another development, Dr Abari informed that the Community Orientation and Mobilization Officers of NOA have been directed to continue to sensitize communities on the need to stay put in their temporary locations until advised otherwise. He said they are also to take health and hygiene education to the communities affected.
The NOA DG recalled that reports by NEMA indicate that over 600 lives have been lost; over 24000 persons injured; about 1,302,589 persons have been displaced; over 2.5 million persons have been affected, one way or another; about 332,327 hectares of farmlands have been totally destroyed; 82,052 houses partially damaged; 121,318 houses totally destroyed beyond repair; and property worth several hundred million damaged in what is, arguably, the worst flooding and humanitarian crisis we have experienced in our recent history.
In Bayelsa State alone, he reminded that over 700,000 persons have been displaced in over 300 communities in all the eight Local Government Areas of the state and, quite disturbingly, even corpses have been washed out from their graves by the flood.
He maintained that “this humanitarian crisis is stretching the contingency plans of most of the affected states to their limits. Yet, it is instructive to note the recent warning from NIMET that despite concerted efforts to mitigate the consequences of the 2022 flooding, states like Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are still at risk of experiencing floods up till the end of November this year.
“Reports from NOA field officers indicate that in Yobe State, communities in at least two local government areas – Gulani and Gujba – have been submerged by floods. The affected communities include Buni Yadi, Buni Gari, Katarko, Kukuwa, Likdir, Dokshi and Bumsa. Two bridges connecting communities in the affected areas have reportedly collapsed and lives have been lost to the floods. In Plateau State, particularly in Jos North Local Government Area, the Dilimi, Nasarawa, Congo Rosha, Angwan Rogo, Rikkos and Zangam communities have been impacted by flooding, leading to the destruction of residential houses and bridges.
In Niger State, the flooding situation has completely displaced communities in Baro, Kacha and parts of Gurara. Taye and Epogi communities have emptied into the Kacha community. In all the affected communities, markets and schools are closed down while farmlands are washed away.
In Anambra State, we are aware of the drowning of 56 women in a boat escaping from the flooding in Anam. Anam is a community very deep in the River Niger plain. Until recently when the State Government built a bridge connecting it to the Local Government Headquarters, it relied completely on water vessels for its transportation. Other communities affected in Anambra State are Iyiowa, Odekpe, and indeed, all the communities of Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state”
He clarified that the story of the situation in Bayelsa State is well known by now. All the local government areas in the state are in the grip of flooding. Schools are closed, markets are closed, government offices are closed with the major access to the state, the East–West road, flooded.
He also thanked the Nigerian Airforce and the Navy for their interventions which include the conveying of people across communities and the aerial drop of relief materials in communities deep inside the flooded areas.
“Kogi is another example of a bad situation. The whole of Ibaji Local Government Area has been submerged with many of the people escaping to the neighbouring Enugu State. Several thousand hectares of rice farmland have been washed off. In Idah Local Government Area, the flooding affected the riverine markets with Inikpi Market closed down. In Lokoja, while the main express road leading to Abuja is free now, those moving to Ajaokuta need to exercise caution as the Ganaja part of the road is still flooded.
“The neighbouring Enugu State has reported flooding in five communities of Uzo-uwani Local Government Areas. They include Igga, Ojjor, Ogrugu, Asaba and Adani. The Adarice farm settlement, which is one of the rice production sites in the state, has been threatened by the flooding surge. Imo State has recorded over 80,000 people displaced from over 33 communities in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas with schools closed and markets sacked,” the DG said.