The Federal Government has promised to collaborate with the stakeholders in Kogi State to give the necessary support to the state government in managing disaster.
Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, team leader, Disaster Risk Management team, Office the Vice-President, made the promise while speaking with journalists on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 in Ibaji, Ibaji Local Government Area of the state.
He said that the team was in the state to carry out assessment of flood sites and disaster-prone areas in nine riverine local governments of the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu said: “We are here to do a holistic assessment, resource mappings, risk analysis and look at the overview of preparedness of Kogi State to manage any form of disaster.
“We are trying to mitigate the impacts of both man-made and natural disasters on the people of Kogi.
“We want to help reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity that is always associated with disaster.
“We have done a holistic assessment in areas worst hit by flood; we are satisfied with our assessments because Kogi government and other stakeholders are doing their best.
“We are going back to the drawing board to do a holistic planning; we will ensure that Kogi is well-prepared to effectively and efficiently respond to any form of emergency disaster.”
Oke-Osanyintolu, who is also Senior Technical Adviser on Disaster Risk Management, said the collaboration became necessary because of the realisation that the state government could not manage disaster alone.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Simon Achuba, who received the team, said that the state government had made provision in its 2017 Budget to equip the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
He said the equipment include flying boat for rescue operation and other materials, to mitigate the effects of flooding.
“On 2017 flood, we took some steps ahead of time by doing monthly sanitation to clean our drainage system, flood sensitisation campaign and stakeholders meeting; if not, the situation would have been terrible just as in 2012.
“I come from a flood-prone environment; as I speak to you now the road leading to my local government in Ibaji is cut-off due to flood.
“We thank the Federal Government for coming to our aid,” he said.
Contributing, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, expressed delight over the team’s visit to the state.
She said: “It is exciting and encouraging that the Federal Government is having more reawakening to our challenges in Kogi.
“It is an assurance that the people of Kogi have not been forgotten.”
Chairmen of Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Lokoja, Idah, Igalamela and Ibaji Local Government Areas, in their separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), also commended the Federal Government for the exercise.
According to them, the gesture would go a long way in ameliorating the hardship facing victims of disaster in the state.
They also thanked the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for sending the team down to the communities for flood assessment and make some interventions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise, which began on Monday ended on Wednesday with the team visiting some communities affected by flood in the state.
The team also paid courtesy visit to the Achandu Attah Igala, Dr Yusuf Ameadaji, who lauded the efforts of the federal and state governments, saying that idea behind the visit was to reduce the effects of flooding in his domain.
He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to provide the victims of the flood with succour, saying that the flood had destroyed their roads and farm lands.
“We are very grateful to the Federal Government for taking up these issues and for giving the needed support that our people deserve,” he said.
By Stephen Adeleye