By Richard Elesho
Governments at all levels, civil society groups and other stakeholders have been urged to adopt proactive measures and planning to prevent flooding instead of managing it’s devastating effects. The charge was given in Lokoja by Ms Eunice Abimbola Agbogun, Executive Director, Challenged Parenthood Initiative, CPI.
She spoke in Lokoja at a Press Conference and Wake Up Call on contingency plans and review of the 2022 flood in Kogi State.
Agbogun who recalled that the flood was predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, said it affected nine Local Government Areas in Kogi State. She revealed that an estimated 50,000 persons were displaced in Ibaji LGA alone.
On emergency responses to the disaster she noted that it was apprehensive. “Though the flood Disaster Situation Room was later put in place to coordinate responses under the watch of the Deputy Governor, the situation was without clear coordination and was apprehensive.”
She commended the Ministry of Health and other agencies for providing support to the victims. She however complained about the lack of spread of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDP Camps established by government.
She also commended civil society groups like ActionAid Nigeria, for appropriate humanitarian responses. She mentioned provision of relief supplies to women and girls, sponsoring stakeholder discussions and monitoring emergency responses as notable areas of intervention.
To prevent reoccurrence, CPI recommended specific roles for governments, community leaders, humanitarian organizations and public spirited individuals.
Top on the list of recommendations is infrastructure planning and risk management techniques “by creating action plans empowering resource mobilization, developing risk management methods and defining stakeholders responsibilities.
She called for immediate aggressive sensitisation, establishment of a compliance Task Force, relocation of victims to highlands, provision of soft loans and seedlings to victims.
The CPI Boss said losses from the flood were enormous including lack of peace, homes, properties and even lives, emphasizing that “it is necessary to start making plans for prevention rather than for relief.”
She called for dredging of the River Niger, construction of dams, infrastructure development, resettlement of people on flood plains, sensitisation and appropriate legislation.
“Flooding in Nigeria occurs annually, yet the adverse effects can be mitigated through proper management. Therefore, studies which can help improve the management of the risks are extremely valuable. These require understanding the information available in the data and predicting extreme events.
“Effective flood risk management requires understanding the available data, which we currently lack, and predicting extreme weather events. There remains.much work to do, particularly the development of appropriate action plans, resource mobilization, risk management strategies and defining responsibilities for stakeholders.