…says Nigeria needs national drainage plan to check lingering flooding
By Soni Daniel
As floods continue to ravage Kebbi State, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has called for national drainage architecture to be able to contain perennial flooding across the country.
Bagudu, whose state has largely been submerged by floods, told journalists in Abuja on Sunday that the adoption of a national drainage plan would substantially checkmate the yearly havoc caused by floods.
The governor, who had on Saturday undertaken a fact-finding tour of some of the most affected areas in the state, said adopting the drainage scheme would also alleviate the heavy losses suffered yearly by farmers and communities as a result of flooding.
Kebbi state’s flourishing rice and wheat farms have been submerged by rampaging floods, as the governor called for urgent help to rescue thousands of families and communities still trapped by the floods.
“We urgently need fresh water and meals for most families and to be able to evacuate them to safer locations,” the governor said when asked about the plight of the displaced persons.
“Most of these victims cannot access the remnants of their homes, farms or relatives and have lost their means of livelihood to the flood.
“What we need most is humanity from all of us to be able to extend the most vital needs to those trapped by the floods.
“There are farmers who have lost their entire farms and there are those who have been displaced by the flood to the extent that they do not know where to go and what to do next.
“The flooding in Kebbi State is an international disaster, which requires an urgent national and corporate response to mitigate the loss suffered by the farmers who were at the forefront of rice and wheat production for Nigeria and export.
“The flooding in Kebbi State remains a significant loss to food production effort by our farmers and we are concerned that this is the worst ever type we have witnessed in the state since the year 2012.
“Although we have moved some of the victims to available spaces in primary schools, mosques and local government areas, we need toilet facilities and medical supplies to prevent the outbreak of epidemic in the camps.
“It is after relocating the victims to safe places that we would be able to assess the integrity of their homes and other public places to determine their suitability for continued use,” the governor said.
The governor said he did not want the Kebbi flooding to be solved as an isolated problem since doing so would expose other states lying on the same water belt to be affected sooner or later.
Bagudu said he was however relieved to see the resilience of the farmers who have adopted a positive disposition towards the monumental tragedy and opted to face their lives with equanimity, courage and hope even in the face of the calamity.
“As devastating as the flooding has been, the resilience of our people gives us hope to plod on and we welcome whatever assistance can be rendered to the victims by international donors, the government and corporate entities,” the governor said.