Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara governments alert residents on impending floods
Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara Governments have commenced the sensitization of residents on appropriate measures to avert flooding in 2023.
The sensitization was in response to the 2023 flood alert released by the Nigerian Metrological Agency, NiMET.
A survey conducted in the three states by the News Agency of Nigeria indicated that the states have also taken other measures to stem the yearly flooding.
In Kebbi, the Executive Director, State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Abbas Kamba, said the agency had intimated local authorities in flood-prone areas to brace up and take remedial measures before the rains.
Kamba said Birnin Kebbi, Ngaski, Yauri, Koko/Besse, Argungu, Dandi, Bagudo, Bunza, Augie, Shanga, and Zuru LGAs were listed as likely to witness flooding in 2023.
“We had meeting with the stakeholders in all the 21 local government areas to intimate the LGA chairmen about the implications of the 2023 annual flood outlook with regards to Kebbi.
“SEMA has put all the necessary measures before the onset of the rainy season and arrangements were made on auxiliary alternatives,” Kamba said.
According to him, apart from the sensitization, the state government has ensured regular clearing of drainage and water channels across the state in preparation for the rainy season.
He added that local government councils were being encouraged to take appropriate measures to mitigate flooding in all areas.
Kamba urged local council chairmen to support residents to plant trees before the erection of any structure.
“The state government plans to plant about one million trees, local government areas should also encourage policies that will ensure the compulsory planting and nursing of trees.
“At least three trees should be planted in every frontage of a house, especially in flood-prone areas,” he added.
The director also advised the chairmen to intensify sensitization campaigns for residents to embrace best environmental practices.
A former Commissioner in the state, Muhammad Shalla, enjoined local councils to stock relief materials instead of waiting for disaster to strike.
Mr Shalla also called on relevant agencies to liaise with local residents on promoting the right habits to prevent floodings.
In Zamfara, Bashir Kabir-Ahmad, the Director of Information, Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said sensitization had commenced on early warning signals.
“We are collaborating with NiMET and relevant agencies on measures to prevent future occurrence of flooding in our communities.
“We held several meetings with NiMET in January where they briefed the ministry on climate forecast and areas with possible risk.
“We will continue to work together and give emphasis on weather updates by NiMET”, he said.
He added that the state government had prioritised dredging of water passages, evacuating of refuse and other environment-friendly measures.
Also, Mustapha Umar, the Director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency, said that the state had embarked on statewide sensitization to ensure people adhere to NiMET predictions.
He advised farmers to heed to professional advice and plant early-yielding crops in view of the weather predictions, to avoid losses.
Meanwhile, Aliyu Kafindangi, the Zonal Head of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Sokoto Operations Office, said the agency had held an interactive sessions on comprehensive disaster management and flood prevention, with critical stakeholders in the three states.
Mr Kafindangi said the aim was to ensure effective, efficient and prompt intervention following the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction by NIMET and the Annual Flood Outlook by NIHSA.
He lamented that based on the forecast, NEMA had written five letters of caution, need for early response and others to Sokoto State Government without a single response.
He however said that Nigeria’s budget had provided some intervention funds to tackle disasters.
The NEMA official emphasized the need for synergy among stakeholders on public awareness, prevention and response to flooding and other disasters in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara.
He said that states and local governments should develop systems and strategies to help communities with flood mitigation and preparedness.
Mr Kafindangi advised residents to stop indiscriminate disposal of waste in water channels, as doing so help to block water channels, thereby causing flooding.
“NEMA has always been concerned about the effects of floods in recent years which resulted in the quantum loss of lives and property with adverse socio-economic consequences.
“The agency has made it mandatory to sensitise major stakeholders, policymakers and other humanitarian workers to the need to be proactive in preventing, mitigating and responding to any disaster,” he added.