The Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) is meeting with stakeholders in Kebbi to evolve measures to mitigate the effects of floods in 14 flood- prone local government areas.
The HYPPADEC Managing Director, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq-Yelwa, said that the meeting would also look at communities that have suffered flooding in the past five years.
He made this known at the 2023 stakeholders’ meeting on flood mitigation and other related issues in the state in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, on Sunday, May 7, 2023.
“We want to know what causes the floods and what we can do to mitigate the frequent occurrences.
“We have identified with the role played by stakeholders; hence we will do all it takes to reduce the hardships faced by the communities in the state,” he said.
Sadiq-Yelwa said that the commission realised that most of the problems of the flood could be managed by the communities themselves.
He said this was through awareness campaigns on the dangers of floods and measures to be taken on early warning of possible flood in the state.
“We also realised the importance of stakeholders, and we want to share in their experience and knowledge.”
He pointed out that the HYPPADEC was prepared to intervene in communities with serious ecological and drainage issues, adding that it was, however, hampered by resources at its disposal.
“But one commitment I want to make here and now is, we are prepared to partner with any Local Government that has a budget for the control of erosion, flood and drainages.
“When we check the design and the bills and we are satisfied, we are prepared to finance such projects by 60 per cent but they must contribute their 40 per cent down.
“Once they are able to do that, we are prepared to pay 60 per cent on behalf of the commission so that our communities will feel the impact of our presence and we also feel the impact of the partnership between the Local Government and HYPPADEC”, the MD said.
Earlier, the Head of Sokoto Operations Office, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Aliyu Kafindangi, said the agency had commenced activities based on the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) 2023 prediction of possible flood in the 14 local government flood-prone areas.
“We have started campaigns early this year, as we are ready for early warning and early action.
“We will bombard every citizen, state, and local government with this information as we want them to know that it is serious.
“We will not keep quiet. We want them to know that there will be flooding this year,” he said.
The Executive Director of SEMA, Alhaji Rabi’u Abbas-Kamba, said that most of the floods in previous years were caused by the release of water from dams in Sokoto and Niger states.
“We have been meeting with the dams’ managers and we were told that the dams could not withstand the volumes of water as they have not been dredged for many years,” he said.
Abbas-Kamba urged the authorities concerned to ensure the dredging of the dams as part of measure to mitigate the flood in the state.
In his remark, the state Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Alhaji Hayatuddeen Bawa, commended HYPPADEC for organising the meeting, saying it was critical towards solving problems of flood in the state.
“The presence of numerous rivers in the state demonstrates that the state is extremely vulnerable to flooding.”
Speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers, the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Bashar, said that bringing the traditional rulers and local government council chairmen was no doubt a good idea.
“These people are the custodians of our culture and tradition as well as versed in sundry knowledge of all the nooks and crannies of the state,” he said.
Bashar, represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Umar, said that the traditional rulers would work closely with the state government, LGAs and HYPPADEC in order to mitigate the flood in the state.
The meeting had the state Ministries of Environment, traditional rulers, Local Government Council Chairmen, and farmers representatives in attendance.
In a related development, HYPPADEC has begun the construction of a N220 million Erosion Control Drainage system along the Lokoja-Abuja Road in Kogi State to mitigate flooding.
“This is sequel to the yearly flooding that has been ravaging the highways around Koton Karfe in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi,” HYPPADEC Managing Director (MD), Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq-Yelwa, said in Koton Karfe, Kogi.
Speaking at the official handing over of the Erosion Control Project site to the contractors, Atimpsuda Integrated Services Limited, Yelwa said that the project was aimed at addressing hardship motorists and commuters encounter during raining season.
“This project is part of HYPPADEC efforts toward addressing the perennial flooding of Lokoja-Abuja highway and highly flood prone Koton-Karfe communities in Kogi.
“It is pathetic that year-in, year-out, commuters and motorists as well as members of the Koton-Karfe community have continued to suffer untold hardship with loss of lives, property and means of livelihood to flooding.
“It is also our hope that this silt removing erosion control project covering about 500m, awarded at a cost of N220 million to Atimpsuda Integrated Services Limited will bring an end to the unfortunate hardships,” he said.
Yelwa, who is the Garkuwan-Igu, assured that the people of the state that the project would be completed within eight weeks.
Mr Victor Omofaiye, the State Commissioner for Environment, expressed gratitude to the pragmatic step taken by HYPPADEC to help address the flooding challenge being experienced around Koton Karfe.
He noted that Kogi was strategically located and that “flood will always come when we least expect, which calls for mitigation measures to be taken more so that NiMet predicted worse flood this year.”
Omofaiye said that the Gov. Yahaya Bello-led administration has embarked on afforestation programme as part of measures to mitigate flooding and erosion menace across the 10 most affected Local Government Areas of the state.
Earlier speaking at the palace of Ohimege-Igu of Koton-Karfe, Alhaji Abdulrazaq Sani Isah-Koto told the managing director that the timely intervention of the commission would go a long way at allaying the fears of the people.
Isah-Koto appealed to the commission and the contractor to ensure that the project be completed within the time frame to avoid any trace of flood within his domain and Kogi as a whole this year.
By Ibrahim Bello and Thompson Yamput