The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has reiterated commitment to mitigate any threat posed by flood, which is expected to increase from the global impact of climate change.
Director-General of FEMA, Dr Abbas Idriss, said this during the 2023 joint tour of flood prone areas of Apo-Dutse, Gudu Districts of the FCT on Wednesday.
Idriss noted that the tour was a preparedness and awareness measure for the 2023 rainy season, adding that the importance of the exercise could not be over-emphasised.
He said that flood remained the greatest threat to lives and property – including food security where farm lands were washed away.
He said that 2023 Nigerian Meteorological Agency Seasonal Climate Prediction and Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) Annual Flood Outlook had multi sectoral implications on the FCT – including disaster management.
”My conviction on our ability to keep lives and property safe from the threat of flood stems from the commitment and support given by the FCT Minster, Muhammad Bello.
“This has seen many structures standing on water ways and flood plains being demolished, to restore the FCT Master Plan, which has suffered gross violations over the years.
“I believe the architects of the Abuja Master Plan envisaged the global threats that weather and climatic elements pose to cities, and took that into consideration in their design to make the FCT qualify as a safe city over time.
“Therefore, if we succeed in restoring the Master Plan, we would have succeeded in reducing the flood threats facing us by 50 per cent, and continue to manage other factors that are not subject to human control as best as possible to stay safe.”
He assured that the agency would continue to expand and deepen flood sensitisation campaign across the FCT, through community outreach and the various media platforms using different languages to drive home our early warning and early action messages.
Idriss commended the support and increasing participation of communities- driven by traditional rulers and volunteers, who are taking greater responsibility for their own safety.
He encouraged communities and all residents to become more aware of what constitutes flood risk and how to reduce their vulnerability, and also be able to respond effectively to avoid loss of lives and property.
He explained that the Emergency Marshalls, who are to be drawn from the six area councils, would further strengthen the disaster management architecture of the FCT.
He appealed to volunteers to keep an eye on installations such as flood warning sign boards mounted by FEMA in flood prone locations for road users to be cautious when they get to such spots.
”These installations, including other facilities are being vandalised by criminal elements, these tend to undermine our collective efforts at ensuring safety in the FCT ” .
Earlier, the Director, Forecasting Response Mitigation of FEMA, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, recalled that, in 2022, FCT was the only location in the country that didn’t record any loss of life during flooding.
”And that is why this year again, we want to start on a good footing, so that we will be able to save lives and properties in the territory. So it is very important to remove all obstructions on the waterways.
”We will go round at least four different locations within the city centre, to carry out a comprehensive inspection of locations where we had flooding last year, especially the new areas we identified in 2022.
”Some of the locations that we will visit today are the Apo Dutse, Carters Court, one of the estates that was heavily flooded in 2022, Damangaza Bridge along Ebeano Supermarket, Gudu and Galadimawa Interchange,” she said.
Also, the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Shehu Ahmed, described the tour of the flood prone areas as a welcome development, timely and very proactive.
Represented by Mr Chinasaokwu Okolie, Deputy Director, Department of Engineering Services, FCDA, Ahmed said flood was caused by the activities of man that tamper with the waterways.
”This stakeholders’ meeting will go a long way towards getting early solutions and responses to the flooding issues.”
Similarly, the Director, Department of Development Control FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima, affirmed the readiness of the department to continue to demolish all structures built on waterways in the nation’s capital.
The high point of the event was the symbolic inauguration of the joint assessment tour of 2023 flood prone areas in the FCT by the FEMA boss.
By Salisu Sani-Idris