The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on the Kwara Government to take proactive measures to mitigate probable flooding in the state.
The Director-General of the Agency, Retired AVM Muhammadu Mohammed, made the call when he led his team on an advocacy visit to the state on Tuesday in Ilorin.
Mohammed, who was represented by Mallam Mohammed Aji, Assistant Director, Training said the seasonal rainfall and the annual flood outlook for the year 2020 had identified seven local government areas of the state as highly prone to experience flooding.
The local government areas, according to him, are Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Asa, Patigi, Edu, and Moro.
This, he said, made it a responsibility on the part of government and citizens to evolve strategies to minimise losses through adherence to warning alerts, early preparation, and proper response.
“The annual flood outlook informed that 102 local government areas in 28 states fall within the highly probable risk areas.
“The remaining 397 local governments fall within low probable risk 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 toward the peak,’’ the director-general said.
He urged the state government to direct the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), frontline local government authorities, and other response agencies to be prepared.
The NEMA boss called for effective public enlightenment campaigns to vulnerable communities to undertake mitigation action and prepare for evacuation to safe grounds.
Mohammed also called on the government to identify high-ground for possible Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to shelter evacuated communities.
He called for de-silting of river channels and canals as well as the removal of refuse and weeds from water channels, drainage, and all avenues for river runoffs so as to allow free flow of water.
He expressed the hopes that with collective efforts, stakeholders should be able to respond promptly to the flood, whenever it occurred.
Speaking on behalf of the state government, Prof. Saban Jibril, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) said that the state was keen to put an end to the perennial flood.
Jibril attributed the perennial flooding to the overflowing of the River Niger.
He called for dredging of River Niger for it to contain more volume of water to serve as a solution to the flooding.
He also advocated for the erection of embankment and planting of specified trees along the embankment of the river, in line with the literature of geography.
This, he said, would be a permanent solution rather than the annual warning and advocacy.
The SSG sought support from NEMA to achieving these proposals.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team also visited the Disaster Management Unit at the 222 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Ilorin.
Major Ahmed Jarma, the acting Commander of the military formation, expressed the readiness and preparedness of the unit for any emergency call.
Jarma recounted various emergency responses that the unit had participated in in the past.
He, however, identified a lack of adequate operational vehicles, communication equipment, and speed boats as challenges against the emergency response of the unit.
He called for the training of personnel in disaster management and response as well as the posting of more troops to the unit.
NAN reports that the team also visited other emergency response agencies to seek synergy ahead of the predicted floods.