Director General (DG) of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Ahmed has paid a visit to Kwara to commiserate with the state over the recent boat mishap on the River Niger which claimed over 100 lives along Patigi Local Government Area of the state.
The NEMA team which included the director of relief and rehabilitation Alhassan Nuhu, special assistant to the DG Idris Mohammed, head of NEMA Minna operations office Zainab Suleiman and some support staff was received by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi on behalf of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday, June 22.
Speaking during the visit, Mr Ahmed commiserated with the government and people of Kwara State over the boat mishap which he described as “particularly sad because of the extent of lives lost and damage caused to livelihoods of many persons.”
Ahmed thanked the government under AbdulRazaq for providing first-line support to the affected persons before calling “on relevant authorities responsible for safety on our waterways to put in measures that will forestall a re-occurrence.”
In conclusion, he announced that the agency had made provisions for relief materials to be distributed to those affected based on damage assessment and need analysis conducted by NEMA. The relief items are meant to complement the efforts of the Kwara State Government in providing immediate succor to the affected persons.
The items included 1,000 10kg bags of rice, 1,000 10 kg bags of maize, 1,000 10kg bags of beans, 50 kegs of vegetable oil, 200 pieces of plastic buckets, 100 cartons of detergent, 220 blankets, 200 nylon mats and 250 mattresses.
Ahmed had visited Akwa Ibom the previous where he flagged off “the downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective live-saving early actions during the 2023 rainy season.”
Referencing the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) released earlier in the year by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) respectively, the DG noted that the “two vital documents contain meteorological forecasts indicating early onset of rainfall and high probability of flooding across the country during the year.”
Speaking to the imperative of awareness creation and early warning signal measures as critical for flood prevention, Ahmed noted that Nigeria suffered the most devastating incident of flooding in 2022 during which 665 Nigerians were killed and over 2 million persons displaced.
He said that in order to avoid a re-occurrence, the agency has as “part of our disaster risk communication… written letters to all State Governors and responsible partners drawing their attention on imminent floods and associated secondary hazards during the rainy season to avoid a repeat of what we experienced last year.”
Describing disasters as local, Ahmed noted that the cooperation of state and local governments is critical because they are providers of first-line support which has informed the downscaling measures and awareness creation which will help states and local governments take proactive and preventive measures in line with NEMA’s paradigm shift towards disaster risk reduction.