Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Kwara State government at the weekend raised an alarm over an impending flood disaster in the state as it has identified six local government areas of the state that may likely be proned to flooding during this period of rainy season.
The government said the affected local government areas include: Moro, Edu, Patigi, Ilorin West, Ilorin East and Asa.
The government therefore appealed to residents of the affected areas to stay away from their structures and farming activities, pending the time the river flow would recede.
Speaking at a news conference in Ilorin on Sunday, the Permanence Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Alhaji Isiaka Al-Amin, said the residents of the state should heed the recent flood alerts which predicted heavy flooding in parts of Nigeria following the steady rise in water levels in River Niger.
According to him, “Farming along riverine areas should be discouraged for now while Resettlement Centres located at Godiwaji in Patigi constructed by the Federal Government could be a safer place during this period. “Residents of communities in Kwara Central like Isale Koko, Dumon, and Abata Sunkere, among others, are advised to heed this warning.
“Government urges residents of the state to avoid dumping of wastes into river channels or drainages to allow for easy flow of water, while illegal structures along water ways should be demolished.”
Al-Amin, however, said Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has directed that proper enlightenment be done and other preventive steps taken to ensure Kwarans do not fall victims of flooding.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agencies (NIHSA) had recently issued flood alerts in which it predicted various levels of flooding across the country, especially in states straddling the River Niger where water levels have risen above the 2010 and 2018 levels.
“Kwara State falls within this axis and this administration felt compelled to officially alert the people to this development and to appeal to Kwarans to cooperate with the state government on the various measures to mitigate the effects of what is often a combination of natural phenomenon, human activities and failure to heed warnings.
“The Kwara State government, led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, hereby appeals to communities located in and near flood plains and other vulnerable areas are to relocate to safer locations,” Al-Amin added.
The government said flood incidents are often due to high rainfall intensity and rainstorm, blockage of drainage system, poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the flood plains and water ways, river flooding, as well as coastal flooding.
He said while nobody could be blamed for the natural phenomena that might cause flooding, people have a responsibility to avoid actions such as blockage of water ways and indiscriminate dumping of wastes which the top civil servant said often worsen flooding and lead to loss of lives and properties and humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary noted that the ministry would on Monday flag off some corrective measures to clear Ilorin, the state capital, of indiscriminate dumping of waste and blockage of drainages as part of the efforts to ward off flooding.
He said offenders may be made to face mobile court after which they would be warned to desist from violating environmental laws. He said second offenders may face fines.