The Commissioner for Environment, Kogi State, Hon Victor Omofaye has pleaded with the Federal Government and other international bodies to come to the aid of the state amidst the flood crisis.
Omofaye made this appeal during Channels Television’s flagship programme Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.
At least six people, including a toddler, were reported to have died in Kogi’s worst-hit Ibaji district, which the state Governor Yahaya Bello said was “100% underwater”.
The Commissioner lauded the proactive measures taken by the state government to halt the flood advances but insisted the fight can only be won with the support of foreign and individual stakeholders.
“You know that the state government alone cannot do it alone and that is why we are calling on the Federal Government and even international donors well spirited persons in the society to come to our aid in relocating thousands of people,” he said.
“The state government under the leadership of our able governor Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello has quickly set up a committee under the supervision of the deputy governor who has in the same way quickly put up a situation room and as we speak, all the data is being collected there.”
“Kogi government can’t do this alone and the governor explained while restoring the affected persons in the camps; he told them that we have efforts to move these people to a safer place and that is what we are currently doing that is why I told you we have a committee in place now; we are working round it to endure that this is done as soon as possible,” Omofaye explained
Speaking further on the government’s effort to prevent a future occurrence, Omolaye claimed early sensitization has been key to the low mortality rate with effective collaboration from federal agencies as well as NGOs.
“Flooding in Kogi State, we have 3 stages; we have before, during, and after.
The before aspect of it is when we carry out awareness, sensitization and what have you and so now we are faced with this flooding. Presently, the people who have sensitized earlier are being moved to higher ground and that is why we have not experienced the outcry of a high-level of death rate.
“The government is so proactive in ensuring that people living along the coastal area are being given earlier warnings, earlier sensitization to quickly move to higher ground the moment they experience this and with the cooperation of NEMA and SEMA, we have been working in conjunction with even non-governmental organizations to see that this menace is being tackled.”
Declare Kogi National Disaster Zone
Earlier, Yahaya Bello had asked President Muhammadu Buhari during the 62nd Independence anniversary to declare the state a national disaster zone following the flooding.
According to him, the declaration will help to unlock the nation’s capabilities to respond more aggressively with resources to this perennial disaster.
He stated that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had earlier predicted that the 2022 floods will be heavier than usual, lamenting that the flood has affected Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji and Omala local government areas which lie along the Rivers Niger and Benue.
The 2022 floods, Bello added, have been confirmed as Nigeria’s worst flood disaster that has surpassed the 2012 and 2018, stressing that his administration implemented Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) with efforts ongoing to evacuate victims to safer habitats.