Some residents living in flood-prone areas of Kaduna State say they will not relocate as they had nowhere to go in spite of predicted increase in flooding.
One of them, Mrs Anna Okolie, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during a survey on preparedness for predicted flooding, that her family members decided to stay because they had invested a lot in building their house.
“I am not planning to vacate my home because it is not a rented house; we have invested so much to just abandon it for the sake of flood,” Okolie said.
She said government should find a permanent solution to the persistent flooding problem, instead of asking people to relocate every rainy season.
However, Okolie commended the Kaduna State Government for constructing a bridge that had helped in dredging the river.
Another resident, Danladi Ahmed, said with the newly constructed bridge “we will take chances to find out if the flood will affect us this year” .
“Every year, it floods in our area, but by the grace of God, this year, we will have to wait and see what happens,” Ahmed said.
However, some states in the North-West zone have commenced stockpiling of relief materials and establishing of IDP camps in anticipation of flooding as predicted by the Nigeria Meteorological Services Agency (NiMet).
Investigation by NAN in Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano and Katsina, also revealed intensification of enlightenment campaigns by state governments.
Furthermore, some of the government officials have began de-silting of drainages to ensure free flow of water.
The Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said it had conducted simulation exercises to address issue of rescue operations during flood emergency.
Abubakar Hassan, Executive Secretary of the agency, said the exercise was necessary to test infrastructure on ground in anticipation of flood.
“We have continued to sensitise residents, strengthen their capacity and open communication channels to address flood challenges in the state.
“The Agency and other relevant stakeholders are reviewing the state’s contingency plan to address emerging trends relating to flood disasters,” Hassan said.
He said as part of its proactive measures, the Agency had already provided alternative shelters in each Local Government Area (LGA) in anticipation of flood.
Mr Lawal Jibrin, General Manager, Kaduna State Environmental Protection Authority said the authority had issued 305 relocation notices to residents of flood-prone areas in the state.
Jibrin said that no fewer than 30 flood cases were reported in 2020, with many lives lost, adding that indiscriminate dumping of garbages that filled drainages was the major cause of flooding in the state.
According to him, the state government has engaged the services of three waste disposal companies to evacuate refuse across the state on daily basis.
Jibrin said from 2020 to date, the authority had sanctioned 190 defaulters for running foul environmental sanitation rules.
“With our mobile courts, we will continue to sanction any violator of our environmental hygiene laws,” he warned.
An environmentalist, Mrs Gloria Bulus, said with the ‘impact scale’ of flood increasing annually, government needed to be proactive in addressing the problem.
Bulus called for synergy between the government, civil society groups, and the media, to create awareness at community level.
In Kano, the state government said it spent over N20 million to procure equipment which it distributed to self-help groups to clear drainages and check flooding during the rainy season.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Dr Kabiru Getso, who disclosed this to NAN, also said the government had intensified efforts in evacuation of waste in the state, under the “Keep Kano Clean” campaign.
Getso said the campaign was launched by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, sequel to the forecast that the rain would be heavy in the year, with Kano as one of the states to be affected.
He said the state mobilised over 100 self-help groups with equipment to enable them complement the efforts of government in evacuating garbages, sands and other unwanted items in drainages.
“We also embarked on public awareness and warnings through the media for residents to desist from indiscriminate dumping of waste in waterways,” Getso said.
Furthermore, the commissioner revealed that the state government would soon enact a Pollution Control Law to deter people from indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainages and waterways.
“As soon as the bill is passed by the Kano State House of Assembly, I am sure it will be assented to by the Governor and once we have that law, we will apply appropriate sanctions,” Getso assured.
The commissioner revealed that government had entered into an agreement with a solid waste management firm, Capegate Investment Limited, on waste disposal in the state.
On his part, the Chairman of Kano self-help groups, Mr Ibrahim Kofarnaisa, expressed satisfaction with government’s support.
Also, the Executive Secretary of the Kano SEMA, Dr Saleh Jili, said government had earmarked N500 million for emergency response to flooding across the state in 2021.
Jili said this was in response to the prediction of NiMet, that there might be flooding in 25 LGAs of the state.
He said the agency had also embarked on sensitization on radio and television to enlighten the public on the importance of clearing waterways and drainages in their respective domain.
Jili added that such campaigns were also conducted in market places across flood-prone areas in the 44 LGAs.
He stated that from April to date, flooding had claimed 26 lives, destroyed 2,026 houses, with properties worth N1.5 billion lost.
Jili listed the affected LGAs to include Bunkure, Minjibir, Tarauni, Doguwa, Rano, Ungogo, Tudun Wada and Tsanyawa.
In his contribution, the head of Kano Territorial Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Sanusi Ado, said his Agency had intensified campaign on precautionary measures.
Ado commended SEMA for being proactive and urged the public to always clear their drainages.
In Sokoto, the offices of NEMA and SEMA in the state, said they had intensified sensitisation campaigns against recurring floods in the state.
Mr Aliyu Muhammad, the Public Relations Officer, NEMA Sokoto Field Office, said all stakeholders were involved.
Muhammad said NEMA relied on NiMet predictions in determining flood-prone areas, with a view to determine locations to set up camps for displaced persons.
”The Agency sources for safe places to accommodate affected victims since preventing the occurrences of disasters completely is not possible. We, therefore, plan to manage the aftermath,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer of Sokoto State Ministry of Environment, Malam Abdullahi Gani, said SEMA embarked on de- silting of waterways and drains.
Gani said the Agency was involved in evacuation of accumulated refuse, as well as construction of new culverts across the state, with emphasis on flood-prone areas.
Meanwhile, the Katsina SEMA said over 1,500 houses were affected by heavy rainfall recently across the state.
Alhaji Umar Mohammed, the Public Relations Officer of the Agency, said out of the number, over 800 houses were affected in Faskari, 400 in Bindawa and 300 in Sabuwa local government areas.
Mohammed said the state government had intensified its enlightenment campaigns on measures members of the public should take to reduce the impact of flood.
Meanwhile, Zamfara State Government said it had keyed into the World Bank-funded Agro Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes to address issues of desertification, erosion, flooding and other environment-related concerns.
The State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim
Dosara, said the collaboration was in pursuance of government’s policy of ensuring effective environmental protection in the state.
On his part, Musa Umar, an Environmental Scientist in the state, urged government at all levels, to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws to avoid disasters such as flooding and erosion.
Umar lamented that some of the communities and individual residential buildings were constructed on waterways in many areas in the state.
“Government should enforce measures to relocate those living in flood prone areas.
“The state government should set political interest aside on issues regarding public safety and also safeguard the environment,” he said.
In Kebbi, the SEMA said it had stockpiled assorted relief materials in response to the 2021 seasonal climate prediction on the possibility of flooding in the state.
The Executive Director of the Agency, Alhaji Abbas Rabiu-Kamba, told NAN in Birnin – Kebbi that the preparation was sequel to the receipt of early warning from NiMet that Kebbi was among states to witness possible flood in 2021.
Rabiu-Kamba said Kebbi SEMA organised series of meetings with stakeholders to introduce strategies of mitigating the impact of flooding, especially on the riverine communities.
“The state and 21 local government councils, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Education, have identified higher ground and schools for possible evacuation in all the flood-prone areas.
“We have repositioned search and rescue team of the state Department of Fire Service.
“We have also stockpiled assorted relief materials such as food and non-food items, as well as provided necessary logistics for active response in the areas,” he added.
The director urged the state government to consider channelisation and
de-silting of major rivers, to enable free flow of water.
Also, NEMA in the zone said it had sensitised stakeholders on the anticipated flooding as predicted by NiMet.
Alhaji Aliyu Muhammad, the Public Relations Officer of NEMA, Sokoto Zonal Field Office, told NAN that the exercise was part of the agency’s proactive measures to send early warning messages to communities.
Muhammad said that communities in the three states had been divided into high-risk and probable risk areas, adding that attention was given to the high-risk communities and council areas.