Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has promised to continue to protect indigenes and residents of the state from tragedies arising from disasters, both natural and man-man.
Accordingly, the state government is currently working on a modern specialised Emergency Response Centre at the Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang, and a team of 100 medical personnel comprising 25 doctors and 75 nurses are being trained for the purpose.
At a two day workshop on â€œenhancing disaster management in Akwa Ibom stateâ€ the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel spoke on efforts to manage disasters in the state including N32 billion World Bank fund to control floods and erosion in some part of the state.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo lamented that in all the disasters reported or documented in the state, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had not come to the aid of the state in the last one year.
Emmanuel said his administration had in the last two years placed a premium on efforts at intervention during moments of disasters such as fire outbreaks, building collapses, floods and windstorms, as well as communal and boundary crises, among others.
â€œDuring this period, we have been able to provide succor to thousands of disaster victims across the state by providing relief materials and cash totaling more than N100 million.
â€œOn the area of flood control, the state government has embarked on several projects across the state to address the menace, one of which being the currently completed Nsikak Eduok avenue by Oron road underground flood control works in the Uyo Metropolis.
â€œEqually, the government has successfully secured collaboration with the World Bank for a N32 billion package which would be executed in partnership with the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management project to control floods and erosion in parts of the stateâ€, he said
The Governor said by organising the workshop it was raising the priority index of disaster management and approach in order to create a corporate safety consciousness among the people in the state.
He stressed that the exigencies associated with all forms of disaster as well as their unpredictable nature, the only effective means of averting disaster was perpetual vigilance with a sound understanding of its mitigation and management.
â€œA workshop of this nature has become an urgent imperative considering the spate of disasters that have befallen not only our state and the nation, but also happening at a global scaleâ€, he stated.
The participants, he advised should therefore to take the training seriously, to enable government provide a proper framework for a multi-sectoral disaster management system for the state.
In his remarks, the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja lauded Akwa Ibom state government for taking the lead on the global trends in disaster risk management.
He noted that the workshop organised by the state government was in line with the Sendai Framework of Action 2015-2030 which recognises the need for focused action at state and local levels.
Maihaja pointed out that while many countries across the world were still battling to draw up a plan of action in fulfilling this global commitment, Akwa Ibom has taken the lead in putting nationally accepted commitment into action.
â€œI am proud to say that at various global meetings, I have used Akwa Ibom as a showcase on efforts at disaster risk reduction in Nigeria, particularly the flood mitigation infrastructureâ€, he posited
He expressed optimism that lessons learnt from the workshop would be used to ginger other states of the federation to key into the Global Sendai Framework of Action.
The two day workshop which ended Friday was organised by the office of the State Deputy Governor in collaboration with American oil giant, ExxonMobil and structured to be a train-the-trainers workshop.
Participants were drawn across the 31 local government areas of the state including ministries, parastatals and agencies, NGOs and corporate organisations..