(Muhammad Lawal, NAN)
The Chairman, Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Sani Dododo, has advised residents to plant trees in their houses to avert the menace of windstorms.
Dododo gave the advice while sympathising with victims of Friday windstorm during a visit to some affected areas in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some areas affected by the storm were Badariya area, Mobile Police Barrack, Bayan-Kara, parts of Gesse III and Bayan OANDO in Birnin Kebbi.
The report said that there was no loss of life during or after the incident.
Dododo said: “This is a general appeal to all residents to endeavour to plant trees to protect their houses and the environment.
“The state Ministry of Environment is distributing different varieties of tree seedlings free-of-charge and Gov. Atiku Bagudu is launching tree planting on an annual basis.
“These tree seedlings are distributed free and even if it is not free, in order to protect our houses and our environment, we should go and buy such trees for our own good.
“If you are building a house, try to get some trees and plant so that before you finish the building those trees would have grown up.
“Therefore, I am appealing to all including those affected by this disaster and those who are not, to go to the Ministry of Environment and collect these tree seedlings and plant them for the good of all.”
Dododo said the incident was unfortunate, noting that most of the affected persons are low and middle-income earners.
He said that some of the affected persons have just settled down after struggling from rented apartments to live in houses they could call their own.
Dododo urged traditional institutions in the affected areas to go house-to-house to ascertain the extent of damage in order to come up with a list of the affected persons for possible assistance.
“We want the traditional institutions to do this assignment holistically so that each and every person affected will benefit.
“We want to know how many room(s) affected and how many people in each house so that we can come in formally and assist and this, we need urgently,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman, Birnin Kebbi Local Government Council, Alhaji Aminu Ahmad, sympathised with the victims and prayed to God to replace what was lost with something better.
He said the council was doing everything possible to have a genuine list of affected victims for onward submission to SEMA.
The chairman said that many of the victims “are in dire need of assistance, hence the need for the Federal Government to come in and render assistance”.
He also directed traditional institutions in the area to embark on the house-to-house census to ascertain the level of damages and forward same to the council for proper action.
A cross-section of the victims appreciated the leaders for their separate visits, saying it is a show of concern.
One of the victims, Malam Aliyu Mohammed, said the rainstorm started on June 19 evening with a strong wind which destroyed many houses and electric poles.
Malama A’isha Haruna said: “It all started close to Magrib prayer time when rain was about to fall, the wind was moving fast and strong, then we moved into our room with my children and we started praying.
“After some time, the wind blew off our roof, pulled down the walls of the building which affected four rooms and destroyed some of our property.
“We are using this medium to appeal for assistance from both government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and wealthy individuals to help us.”