By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The officials of Disaster Risk Management team, under the aegis of Office of the Vice President, has carried out on the spot assessment to flood sites in riverine Local Government Areas of Kogi State.
The assessment which began on Monday and end on Tuesday with the visit to flood sites in some communities in Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Lokoja, Idah, Igalamela and Ibaji Local Government Areas.
While speaking to newsmen at Ibaji on Tuesday the team lead, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Senior Technical Adviser on Disaster Risk Management, Office of the Vice President, said they were in the state to carry out on the spot assessment of the flood sites.
“We are here to do a holistic assessment, resource mappings, risk analysis and to look at the overview of preparedness of Kogi State to manage any form of disaster.
“We are trying to mitigate the impacts of both manmade and natural disasters on the people of Kogi. We want to help reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity that are always associated with disaster.
“We have done a holistic assessment in areas that are the worst hit by flood; we are satisfied with our assessments because Kogi Government and other stakeholders are doing their best,” he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the Federal Government would collaborate with the stakeholders in Kogi to give the necessary support, stressing that the state cannot manage emergency disaster alone.
He added “We are going back to the drawing board to do a holistic planning; we will ensure that Kogi is well prepared to effectively and efficiently respond to any form of emergency disaster”.
The Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr Simon Achuba, welcomed the team on behalf of the state government and said that their visit to Kogi was for the good of the citizenry.
Achuba said that the government had made provision in 2017 budget to equip SEMA with equipment such as flying boat for rescue operation and other materials to mitigate flood effects.
“On 2017 flood, we took some steps ahead of time through monthly sanitation exercise to clean our drainages, flood sensitization campaign and stakeholders meeting; if not, the situation would have been terrible like in 2012.
“I come from a flood prone environment; as I speak to you now the road leading to my community in Ibaji is cut off due to flood. We thank the federal government for coming to our aid,” Achuba said.
Earlier on Monday, the team paid a courtesy visit to the Secretary to Kogi State (SSG), Dr (Mrs) Folashade Ayoade in her office, where she reaffirmed assurance that the team would assist the state government in emergency management.
She said “As a state, we are also fully prepared to collaborate with the federal government tackle any form of emergency. We appreciate the gesture from the vice president”.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, said that the visit was the second assessment of the FG to the state as Ecological Fund Office team was earlier in Kogi in August for flood assessment.
She said the State Government has been given the necessary support to mitigate the effects of flooding especially in the nine riverine local government areas of the state.
“It is exciting and encouraging that the federal government is having more reawakening to our challenges in Kogi; it is an assurance that the people of Kogi have not been forgotten,” Osikoya said.
The Chairmen of the four local governments where the assessment was carried, in their separate interviews with newsmen, commended the federal government for the gesture to alleviate the suffering of their people.
They thanked the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his intervention and for remembering the people of Kogi by sending his team to the grassroots for flood assessment.
The team also paid a courtesy visit to a royal father in Idah, the Achandu Attah Igala, Dr Yusuf Ameadaji, who applauded the federal and state government for the collaborative efforts to minimise flood effects in his area.
He appealed to the federal government to assist his people that have been badly affected, stressing that the flood had washed away their roads and farm lands.
“We are very grateful to the Federal Government for taking up these issues and for giving the needed support that our people deserves,” he said.
Other places visited by the team were Kogi Fire Service Agency, the IDP camp at Felele, and on the spot assessment visit to a collapsed two story building at Isegba road also at Felele.