By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday toured the Ilorin metropolis where the weekend’s rainstorm blew off the rooftops of hundreds of residential and commercial buildings and rendered thousands homeless.
The tour occurred as a government team began the delivery of food palliatives to Kwara North senatorial districts, beginning with Jebba town in Moro Local government and Lafiagi in Edu Local government area.
AbdulRazaq began the tour immediately he arrived Ilorin from Abuja, where he had gone to inform the president of the havoc wreaked by flooding across the state and the Saturday rainstorm in several parts of Ilorin, among other issues.
Well over 15,000 households across 357 communities of the state are estimated to have been affected by the developments, which have destroyed farmlands and human dwellings worth billions of naira.
A government delegation led by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi had earlier visited the communities on behalf of the Governor, including Ilorin, Jebba, Patigi, and Edu.
Accompanied by Senator Ibrahim Yahya Oloriegbe and a few government officials, AbdulRazaq commiserated with the victims and reassured them of government’s solidarity and its willingness to assist them within available resources — while relevant federal government agencies are expected to also come through for them.
“I was with the president yesterday and I have passed the message to His Excellency and I am sure that the right things will be done,” AbdulRazaq later told reporters on the sideline of the visit to Okelele area.
“National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) are already collating some data and the response is going on. This has happened at the same time with flooding at Jebba, Lafiagi and Patigi local governments, and others.”
The Governor, however, said the incidents have again underscored the need for everyone to protect the environment and avoid unlawful erection of structures or dumping of waste on waterways.
“This incident is part of the global ecological problems we are facing. But we also need to check the way we dump garbage in the water, planting of trees and find ways of reducing the impact of ecological problems that we suffer from,” he said.
“The government is alive to its responsibilities and once the data is collated the right measure of palliatives will be distributed. Right now, relief materials are being distributed in Jebba and other parts of Kwara north senatorial district.
Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, on his part, also commiserated with the people and said efforts are ongoing with the state and the federal government to assist the people as soon as possible.
“The message to my constituents is to sympathise with them over the incident. I have been in consultation with His Excellency Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and we waited for him to first report directly to the President,” he said.
“We have contacted the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Director of Operations in the office for the government to act. But there is a need for specific data of those affected which is being collated by Kwara State Emergency Management Agency and will be submitted to NEMA. The Governor, through the state government, is also making great efforts and personally, as the senator representing Kwara Central, I will also make (available) some palliatives such as (500 bundles of) iron sheets, mattresses and blankets. The materials will be donated directly to the poorest who may need it the most. I am appealing to the community and religious leaders to ensure that this is done.”
Some of the areas the governor visited on Wednesday included Ita-Ogunbo, Pakata, Oloje, Ode-Alausa, Ojuekun, Okelele, Sakama, Muritala, Alore, Omoda, Magaji Are, Amule, among others.
On Tuesday evening in Jebba, the government began the distribution of food palliatives to poor victims and the vulnerable.
Special Adviser and Counsellor to the Governor Kale Belgore, who led the team, said the government embarked on the exercise to mitigate the sufferings of victims, who he said are painfully counting their losses to either rainstorm or flood disaster across the state.
He clarified that the gift items were not targeted at flood casualties alone but also for those classified as poor in the localities. He said the government harvested the list of beneficiaries from community representatives, including community-based organisations, who had been asked to generate same on account of their knowledge of their areas.
He said the relief materials had been donated to the government by the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to help the poor and the vulnerable.
The team berthed in Lafiagi and other communities (Edu Local government) on Wednesday and is due in Tsaragi and Patigi on Thursday. The relief materials would also be distributed in Kwara South and Kwara Central before the end of the week.