By Adeola Badru
The Oyo State government has reiterated its commitment to fully support the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), towards effective management of disaster in the state as the rainy season begins.
Governor Seyi Makinde made the commitment on Friday while hosting the agency during an advocacy visit to him in his office.
Speaking on behalf of the governor, the Deputy Governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, who received the NEMA team at the conference room of the state’s Head of Service, stressed that the state government is fully committed to the wellbeing and safety of all residents in the state.
Engr. Olaniyan, hinted that the state government is donating a permanent site to NEMA in the state as part of its commitment to adequately manage disaster and disaster-related issues across the state.
As the rainy season has begun, the deputy governor, further enjoined residents to ensure they do not engage in activities that could cause flood disasters, stating that activities such as blockage of waterways with refuse, buildings, and inadequate drainage systems are human activities that could increase the chances of such disaster.
He appealed to residents of the state to embrace environmentally sustainable activities like planting trees and recycling the waste in a way that saves our planet from adverse climate change and global warming.
Olaniyan disclosed that the state government through SEMA has been collaborating with NEMA to engage all stakeholders with the aim of ensuring the safety of all residents, especially during a heavy downpour, stressing that the state government would continue to partner all relevant agencies and stakeholders in the fight against flood and other forms of disasters in the state.
Earlier, NEMA Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Kolawole Adedokun, who represented NEMA DG, AVM Mohammadu, explained that flood has become a recurring experience in Nigeria, noting that a similar flood occurred in 2018 after the devastating experience of the 2012 flood disaster leading to a declaration of disaster emergency in many states.
He further stated that even though, climate change has been largely blamed for the increasing phenomenon, adding that it has become everyone’s responsibility as government and people are to evolve strategies to minimize losses through strict adherence to warning alerts, stressing that early preparation and response were what necessitated the advocacy meeting.
He said: “I wish to draw the attention of your Excellency to the 2020 seasonal rainfall prediction and annual flood outlook. These documents have forecasted flood situation for different parts of the country.”
“The annual flood outlook informed that 102 local government areas, 28 states, fall within the highly probable risk areas, while 275 local government areas I’m the 36 states of the federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas.”
“The remaining 397 local government areas fall within the low probable flood risks areas. Unfortunately, the predicted floods have started to occur in many parts of the country therefore, it is imperative to activate all plans and measures against the prediction as the season moves towards the peak.”
“This year, the probable flood risk areas are Ona-Ara, Lagelu, Oyo East, Kajola, Egbeda, Ogbomoso South, Iseyin, Ibarapa North, Ibadan South West, Ibadan North West, and Ibadan South East local government areas.”
According to Commodore Adekunle, considering the available facts, NEMA is requesting the Oyo State government to take proactive and necessary mitigating measures in addressing the issues raised.
Parts of NEMA requests from the state government include directing Oyo State Emergency Management Agency (OYSEMA), frontline local government authorities, and other response agencies to put in place preparedness action.
Some of such preparedness actions according to NEMA, also include public enlightenment campaigns targeting vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation actions and prepare for evacuation to safe ground.
NEMA also requested that the state government identify high grounds for possible internally displaced person camps in order to prepare for shelter for flood victims, distilling river channels and canals, clearing of water channels, drainages, and all avenues for river runoffs to enable free flow of floodwater.