The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state is partnering with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Early Warning Mechanism for Nigeria to strengthen strategies for effective flood management and other related disasters.
Obaseki, who was represented by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, disclosed this while declaring open a two-day Planning Workshop for State Governments on Flood Emergency Management themed: Building Flood Resistant Communities, at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State.
He said the workshop was holding at a time the state is battling flooding as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and the National Hydrological Agency for 2018.
Assuring that the workshop would assist in developing effective preventive strategies to manage flood disasters, he said, “There is no doubt that there is a great possibility of altering the pervading circumstance of flood disaster for the better, through concerted efforts such as this nature.
“Owing to what has been experienced in the past and very recently, there is the need for a shift in old beliefs and approaches. We must have robust plans about how to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on us and our environment; even when we cannot do much about stopping such natural occurrences.”
Obaseki urged participants to take advantage of the workshop to fashion out the best management strategies, adding that the resolution from the workshop would further strengthen established action plan on managing flood and other related hazards in the state.
The governor tasked local government chairmen and community leaders to take the workshop seriously as it would assist them in sensitising the people on the importance of adopting practices to safeguard the environment.
Head, Taskforce ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism for Nigeria, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the workshop is necessary to ensure that the incident of 2012 does not re-occur, noting that the workshop will help build capacities for resilience in communities at risk of flooding.
“The main objective of this initiative is to enhance the response capacity of member states to security threats as a way to boost our conflict prevention architecture,” he said.
Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Dame Omua Alonge Oni-Okpaku, said the stakeholders’ workshop is laudable and expressed confidence that at the end of the sessions, the state will be better prepared to manage flooding.
Edo State Chairman of Red Cross Society, Mr. Festus Alenkhe commended the organisers and maintained that there was need for stakeholders to discuss and fashion effective disaster management strategies.