The Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed (Rtd) on Wednesday expressed fears over the flood disaster in Kebbi, Jigawa and other parts of the country, saying the huge crops lost have put the nation’s food security under threat.
Muhammed who spoke on Wednesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during an advocacy visit to the state, described the loss as unquantifiable.
The DG who was represented by Air Commodore Edward Kolawole Adedokun said the junk of farm produce expected to boost the national food security have been lost to flood in Kebbi, Jigawa and other affected areas.
“I was in Kebbi about two weeks back; farms were submerged. That means the junk of rice expected to boost the national food security is gone.
“So, it is a loss to the nation, it is a loss to Kebbi State Government. And the same thing is replicated in the Jigawa state and across Nigeria; States are losing people, houses and farms.
“You can’t really quantify it. It is a great loss to the country,” the DG said.
According to him, the Annual Flood Outlook revealed that 102 Local Government Areas in 28 states fall within the high probable areas, while 275 LGs in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) fall within moderately probable risk areas.
He noted that there is urgent need for states to take proactive and mitigating measures towards addressing the flood crisis.
In Ogun State, Muhammed explained that the highly probable risk areas are Abeokuta South, Ogun Waterside and Ijebu East Local Government Areas, while the probable flood areas Ewekoro, Abeokuta North, Odeda and Ifo LGs.
The DG, however, asked Governor Dapo Abiodun to direct the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), frontline LG authorities and other response agencies to put in preparedness actions towards mitigating the flood crisis.
He also appealed to the government to identify high grounds for possible Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs) in order to shelter evacuated communities.
Responding on behalf of the governor, the Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu – Balogun said the government had already commenced massive dredging of rivers and desilting of canals across the state to curb incidences of flooding.
Abudu – Balogun hinted that residents living in about 40 communities prone to flood have been asked to relocate temporarily as part of moves to safe lives and properties.
The Commissioner disclosed that a number of residents have started relocating already, adding that the government would deploy persuasive means and not a force to ensure the affected communities vacate the flood plain areas.
He, however, called for continuous support of the Federal Government in the provision of relief materials for disaster victims across the state.