CHUKS OYEMA-AZIKEN writes on how the Kogi State government is preparing in the face of imminent flooding.
In 2012, Nigeria suffered what was seen as the worst flooding in 40 years.
Beginning in early July 2012, 363 people were killed and over 2.1 million people displaced as of 5 November 2012, according to a report by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The report said 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states were affected by the floods which affected an estimated total of seven million people.The estimated damages and losses caused by the floods were N2.6 trillion.
Kogi State was the worst affected with 623,900 people being displaced and 152,575 hectares of farmland destroyed, according to a NEMA coordinator.
In it’s 2020 flood alert, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said that 102 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 28 states in the country are at the risk of flooding this year warning that adequate attention be given by the relevant authorities.
Similarly, Nigerian Metrological Services (NIMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Survey Agency (NIHSA) in the 2020 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) predicted intense rainfall in some parts of the country.
The Kogi State Government is not waiting to be taken unawares as measures are being put in place to avoid a repeat of past destruction to lives and property.
In 2017, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello keyed into the partnership with the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The governor matched words with action as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NEWMAP aimed at tackling the menace of ravaging erosion in the state got immediate approval of disbursement of N100m, in partial fulfillment of the state government’s counterpart funding.
Several erosion sites have received attention, while others are work in progress.
In 2018, Governor Bello through his media aide, Kingsley Fanwo, acknowledged that over 200 communities were submerged in water.
The governor also disclosed that the state lost N100 billion to flood.
He said a lot had been done by his government to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
“Kogi state government has been rattled by the degree of flooding that has submerged over 200 communities and rendered about a million people homeless in the state,” he said in a statement.
“As a government, a lot has been done to ameliorate the dastardly effect of the menace. Federal agencies are also working hard to help us out of our seemingly perilous situation.
“Government will never express hopelessness as it is the bastion of hope for the victims. But we are stretched and wish to thank the federal government for its intervention so far.
The governor advised the people in flood prone areas to move to safer grounds.
In 2020, some measures are already been applied to beat the warnings of the relevant agencies.
The State Government through the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Victor Omofaiye announced her readiness to hold monthly environmental sanitation exercise from 7 am to 10 am.
At another event, Chief Omofaiye stated that the Ministry has carried out several ecological and erosion projects across the state as well as tree planting projects to increase tree population and has put measures in place to prevent indiscriminate burning of waste in a bid to preserve biodiversity.
With the combined warnings by NEMA, NIMET and NHISA, and the attention the present administration has given to the environmental sector, it is hoped that Kogi State will this time suffer minimal loss.