The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on the Kwara government to take proactive steps to mitigate likely flooding in the state.
The agency’s CEO, retired AVM Muhammadu Mohammed, made the call when he led his team on a promotional visit to the state Tuesday in Ilorin.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mallam Mohammed Aji, deputy director of training, said seasonal rains and annual flood prospects for 2020 had identified seven local government areas of the state as highly prone to flooding.
The local government areas, according to him, are Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Asa, Patigi, Edu and Moro.
This, he said, placed the government and citizens on the responsibility of developing strategies to minimize losses through compliance with warning alerts, early preparation and appropriate response.
“The annual flood forecast reported that 102 local government areas in 28 states are within highly probable risk areas.
“The remaining 397 local governments are within probable low risk areas.
“Unfortunately, anticipated floods have started to occur in many parts of the country.
“Therefore, it is imperative to activate all plans and counter-prediction measures as the season progresses towards its peak,” said the CEO.
He urged the state government to instruct the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), front-line local government authorities, and other response agencies to be prepared.
The NEMA chief called for effective public illustration campaigns for vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safe ground.
Mohammed also called on the government to identify elevated terrain for potential internally displaced persons (IDP) camps to house evacuated communities.
He called for the removal of sediment from river channels and canals, as well as the removal of debris and weeds from water channels, drainage and all avenues for river runoff to allow the free flow of Water.
He expressed the hope that with collective efforts, stakeholders can respond quickly to the flooding, whenever it occurs.
Speaking on behalf of the state government, Professor Saban Jibril, Secretary of State Government (SSG) said the state was eager to end the perennial flood.
Jibril attributed the perennial floods to the overflow of the Niger River.
He called for the dredging of the Niger River so that it contains more volume of water to serve as a solution to the floods.
He also advocated the construction of embankments and the planting of specific trees along the river embankment, according to the literature on geography.
This, he said, would be a permanent solution rather than the annual warning and promotion.
The SSG sought the support of NEMA in achieving these proposals.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the team also visited the Disaster Management Unit at Nigerian Army Battalion 222 in Ilorin.
Major Ahmed Jarma, acting commander of the military formation, expressed the unit’s readiness and readiness for any emergency calls.
Jarma recounted several emergency responses the unit had participated in in the past.
However, he identified the lack of adequate operational vehicles, communication equipment, and speedboats as challenges to the unit’s emergency response.
He called for the training of personnel in disaster management and response, as well as the dispatch of more troops to the unit.
NAN reports that the team also visited other emergency response agencies to seek synergy ahead of the anticipated floods.