15 August 2012

Nigeria: State Govts Take Preemptive Measures Against Flooding - NAN Survey

Some state government have taken preemptive measures against looming flooding as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

During the presentation of the agency's 2012 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (2012 SRP) in Abuja, Dr Anthony Anuforom, NIMET Director General, said downpours were expected from August to October in 14 states.

He also warned of irregular flooding and erosion in other parts of the country, especially the coastal zone and river catchment areas.

NAN reports that flooding had wreaked havoc in states such as Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Plateau, resulting in loss of lives and property.

A survey conducted by NAN correspondents across the country, reveals the following:

In Kano State, the government said it had constituted a committee to assess the strength of its 17 dams, according to Dr Yunusa Dangwani, the Commissioner for Water Resources.

Dangwani said government had also embarked on 'massive' enlightenment campaigns to sensitise communities living around the dams to NIMET prediction.

In Gombe State, Mr. Kelmi Lazarus, Permanent Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said government had embarked on an enlightenment campaign to ensure appropriate disposal of waste and to discourage people from felling trees.

"Because of its location, Gombe attracts excessive water and if not recycled or dispatched, flooding may occur," the commissioner said.

On its part, the Kebbi Government has commenced demolition of illegal structures along waterways and canals in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital

The Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Alhaji Hussaini Raha, told NAN in Birnin Kebbi that the action was part of long term measures to prevent flooding in the metropolis.

He said the demolition of structures would be carried out in other major towns.

He said that other preventive measures including clearance of waterways, drainage canals and resettlement of people living on flood-prone areas, would be embarked upon soon.

Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, the General Manager, of the state Urban Development Authority, said the authority would embark on clearing refuse from canals, as well as to sensitise the public to dangers of indiscriminate refuse dumping.

In Borno, Gov. Kashim Shettima has constituted a task force on drainage evacuation.

"The task force has already begun clearing and evacuation of drainage and refuse dumps in the capital," Alhaji Hassan Mustapha, the Commissioner for Environment, told NAN.

He said that 187 km-length of primary and secondary drainage had been cleared by the task force.

"The task force also evacuated more than 389, 000 tonnes of refuse dumped all over the place," Mustapha said, adding that all blocked drainage had been cleared to prevent re-occurrence of flooding in the state capital.

"Government has also purchased 40 refuse compactors worth N1.1 billion to ensure regular refuse disposal in the state capital," the commissioner told NAN.

In Zamfara, the Chairman of Maru Local Government Council, Alhaji Lawali Aliyu, told NAN that he had mobilised various communities in the area to place sand-filled sacks on major waterways to prevent flooding.

He said he had already contacted the state's emergency relief agency to train some members of staff of the council on the provision of emergency services to flood victims.

The Secretary, Zamfara Emergency Relief Agency (ZEMA), Alhaji Atiku Maradun, said government had increased allocation to the agency.

"We are now fully prepared to take up the challenge," he said.

NAN recalls that at the beginning of the rainy season this year, flooding killed 27 persons and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Maradun and Anka LGAs

Meanwhile, the Yobe Ministry of Environment said it had cleared the drainage in Damaturu .

"The ministry intensified clearing of the drainage and refuse deposits using the newly procured loaders, tippers and other machines in Damaturu," Alhaji Wakil Sarki, the Commissioner for Environment, told NAN.

Wakil said that such exercise would be extended to all major towns across the state and flood prone areas.

"For now, the major problem has to do with the attitude of our people who throw rubbish inside the drainage," he noted.

Kaduna State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Zakariah Shamaki said the ministry had embarked on clearing of blocked drainage.

"Residents were also advised to take preventive measures such as clearing of drainage as well as to stop disposal of waste into drainage.

"We have also embarked on prompt evacuation of waste while a task force committee was set up to facilitate the exercise," he said.

In Oyo State, government has begun the dredging of 43 rivers and streams across the 33 local government councils.

Alhaji Wasiu Dauda, the Commissioner for Environment and Habitat, told NAN that the government had also cleared some canals in Ibadan.

Similarly in Ondo State, Mr Bisi Adeoba, General Manager, State Waste Management Board, said that government had begun a sensitisation campaign to keep the environment clean.

"The board, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has met severally with Landlord Associations in most part of the state.

"Apart from that, government has also embarked on expansion of narrow culverts to ensure that they contain run-off water that may arise from heavy rains," he said.

Dr Kasim Ahmed, Coordinator, National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) said the agency would also embark on enlightenment campaigns to dissuade people from residing along flood prone areas.

"We will convince them to relocate to avoid disaster," he said.

NEMA's coordinator in the South-South, Mr Umesi Emenike, said the agency had embarked on a sensitisation campaign on solid waste management as part of efforts to reduce flooding in the South-South region.

He identified inadequate drains, improper refuse disposal system, building structures on drainage and low terrain as major factors responsible for flooding in the region.

"Do not erect buildings on drainage, avoid improper refuse disposal in order not to block the water channels and do not erect structures close to the waterways," Emenike cautioned the people.

NEMA in the South-East zone has also cautioned the people in the zone not to block water channels

Dr Bamidele Onimode, the agency's zonal coordinator, told NAN in Enugu that blockade of water channels was a severe risk factor to flooding.

He said that indiscriminate disposal of waste was one of the major causes of flooding and erosion especially in the South East zone.

"It is rather unfortunate that in this part of the country, some of the sewage is turned to refuse dumpsites, " Onimode said.

He said that flooding and erosion occurred in over-used land and urged farmers to embark on rotational cropping and shifting cultivation as part of efforts to prevent the risk.

The coordinator also called on state and local governments to do more in waste disposal as well as to build the capacity of their workers, adding that those living in riverside should move upland. NAN

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