By Daniel Ayantoye
Two months after the Federal Government ordered the release of N1.6 billion to victims of flood in 16 states, there are strong indications that those of Kwara and Kogi may have been abandoned to their fate.
This medium on Tuesday gathered that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is yet to release funds to the two aforesaid states leaving victims stranded and dejected at the moment.
According to a source at the Governor’s Office, some of those recently affected by flood in the state stormed the office of the Special Adviser to the Kwara State Governor on Emergency and Relief Services, Alhaji Abdullahi Duro Mohammed to lament their ordeals.
It was gathered that some of the victims collected huge loans to cultivate their farmlands that were affected by the flood, a claim that was confirmed by the governor’s aide.
Mohammed, who lamented the plight of Kwara victims, however disclosed that the state is yet to receive the flood intervention fund from the appropriate quarters.
Reacting to the issue in a telephone chat, the Zonal Coordinator for Kwara and Kogi, Mr. Izak Lugard confirmed that the agency is yet to receive the fund from the Federal Government.
“If the fund has been released, you would have heard but we are working on it” he said.
While in acting capacity, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in July ordered the immediate release of N1.6 billion for disbursement to victims of flood in 16 states of Nigeria through NEMA.
… 10,000 families displaced in Kogi
From Bayo Oyewale, Lokoja
No fewer than 10,000 families have been displaced in Kogi State following the flood that ravaged some riverine communities due to heavy downpour in the last few days.
The governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello disclosed this when he was on an-on-the-spot assessment tour of the affected areas and also the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state yesterday.
Bello stated that anytime there is heavy down pour, River Niger and Benue always overflow their boundaries and the effect is more devastating on the people of the state.
He explained that many communities in Ibaji, Ajaokuta, IgalaMela/Odolu, Bassa, Koton-Karfi and Lokoja local government areas of the state have been badly affected.
The governor therefore called on federal authorities to come to the aid of Kogi State as the state is in dire need of humanitarian interventions.
Bello, stressed that thousands of homes have been submerged by floods in Lokoja and Ibaji, describing the situation as “desperately pathetic”.
“The Kogi State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has been stretched to the limit. The state government is providing immediate interventions within its financial capacity, but what government has been able to do is grossly inadequate.
“Apart from Nataco, Sarkin Numa, Ganaja and other areas in Lokoja where floods have taken over communities; Ibaji communities are completely passing through the fury floods that have sacked people from their homes and farmlands. Some people are climbing trees to survive.
“There is an urgent need to relocate the affected people and settle them in camps. We call on the National Emergency Management Agency to quickly come to our aid.
“The state already has a situation room under the leadership of the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources to collate the realities on ground. What we are getting at the moment is of frightening enormity that requires urgent attention”.
“Government has all the information that will be required by NEMA, the situation is getting worse by the day.
“As the center of the nation, a locked-in Kogi will affect the entire nation. Roads have been taken over, people now sleep on the streets and nursing mothers are gory sights to behold. We call on federal agencies and the international community to quickly come to our aid”.
He urged people still living in flooded homes to vacate the places, saying it is unsafe to continue to sleep in flooded apartments.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Rose Ojocheme Oshkoya stated that the state government had put measures in place to mitigate the effect of the flooding.
She explained that despite these measures, River Niger had diverted into some communities following the increase of volume of water as result of down pour of rain in last few months.
The Commissioner lamented that several farmland have been submerged and farmers have been displaced and unable to harvest their farm produce.
She noted that the situation is getting out of hands and urged the federal government to intervene to mitigate the effect of the natural disaster.
…KWSG issues red alert to communities
By Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
Following predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) that states in the North Central part of the country may experience flooding this year, the Kwara State Government has identified flood prone areas in the state.
Red alert was issued to the flood prone areas located in, Ilorin South, Edu, Moro and Patigi Local Government Areas of Kwara.
The communities listed are Kilanko, Aduralere, Tsaragi, Lafiagi, Shonga, Bacita, Patigi, Gbaradogi, Fangan and Kpata.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, the state Commissioner for Environment, Otunba Taiwo Joseph called for the relocation of people particularly those living along riverbanks to safer places.
He disclosed that residents of the areas have all along refused to relocate to designated resettlement areas despite warnings due to age-long cultural beliefs.
“Other top government officials and I have visited farmers in these areas several times, asking them to relocate because of the looming disaster. But they have bluntly refused to leave. They are claiming that their umbilical cords were buried in the place.”
The commissioner said that recent flood incidents in Benue and other neighbouring states was a wake-up call to government and residents of the state.
He advised that farming activities should be done carefully along the riverbanks until raining season stops, to prevent the loss of lives.
He also said that silted drainages should be de-silted to allow for free flow of water, adding that waste should be properly disposed to designated areas and not drainages.
Joseph urged residents to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse in waterways, saying that local government councils and traditional rulers should localise the campaign in their domains.
He asserted that the state did not experience any major flood disaster as a result of government’s intervention, calling on the media for concerted efforts in preventing flood disaster in the state.
“We will not rest on our oars by sustaining our collaborative effort with the media, private organisations and other relevant stakeholders to achieve common goal of making the state flood free,” he said.