Flood: NEMA Boss Escapes Mob Attack in Kaduna ….Says They Should Expect More Flood
Flood: NEMA Boss Escapes Mob Attack in Kaduna
….Says They Should
Expect More Flood
By Alex Uangbaoje
Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi yesterday escaped being attacked by aggrieved displaced victims of Kaduna flood that left thousands homeless following a heavy downpour that resulted in the overflow of river Kaduna bank on Monday.
Alhaji Sidi who was on assessment tour of the affected areas had arrived Kigo road new extension, one of the worst affected area, at about 1PM, where crowd of displaced persons surrounded him, demanding, in their voices, for immediate cash compensation.
Some of the flood victims, who were apparently furious, rained all sorts of abusive words on the NEMA Boss, even as he maintained calmness.
This was even as he admitted that it was natural for the victims to lose temper in such circumstances, adding that they should expect more flood in no distant time.
All efforts to address them on the spot attracted more embarrassing aggressive comments such as, “You are only here to speak grammar, we have no place to lay our heads, and government doesn’t care for us, open your mouth and speak out, you are saying nothing.
“It is local canoe owners that have been helping us to move some of our loads out of this flood, you have come here to mock, you came empty handed without bringing any relief materials for us.
However, sensing that the crowd was becoming more aggressive amidst thunderous noise and pushing, almost pouncing on him, the Police ADC to the NEMA DG and other security operatives, quickly shielded him and moved him to the waiting vehicle, and zoomed off with other vehicles in the convoy.
He was driven to Ahmadu Bello Stadium where arrangement was concluded to erect camps for the displaced persons.
Apparently, appearing discouraged to visit other areas in Kaduna city that were affected by the flood, Alhaji Sidi, seemingly, reluctantly, asked officials of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) whether it was still necessary to continue with the inspection tour.
They actually stopped him from going further on the inspection because according to SEMA officials, the State governor had a day before visited most of the affected areas.
However, fielding questions from journalists about the mood of the flood victims and what plans has the agency has for them, he said, “The reaction of the flood victims was not pleasant, but I think it is normal because when people are displayed like this, especially given the fact that they were not prepared, and obviously from what I have seen, they were not prepared for the flood, even though they had earlier been warned.
“You are aware that Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), like I said, has issued the seasonal rainfall prediction which showed that all these States would be flooded, and now we have the situation at hand, and as I speak, about 10 local government areas were affected by this flood in Kaduna State, about 16 local government in Jigawa, about 17 local government in Kebbi, almost 20 local government in Adamawa State, and other States that were mentioned in NIMET prediction.
“I had in the last two months prediction sensitisation warning, indicating that there would be flood, and we need to move people, especially those that live within the flood prone areas, to move to higher ground, but they never took the warning very seriously.
“Now we have this situation at hand, and by yesterday (Monday), the executive governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai went round and sympathised with the victims, the affected communities and promised them some assistance.
“We (NEMA) have come from Abuja with our colleagues in Kaduna that are working in our zonal office to visit and carry out on the spot assessment to see how best we can assist these people.
“So the best thing to do now is to move them to a safer place, and we have talked with the management of Ahmadu Bello Stadium, and they have agreed to give us some place here where we can build a temporary accommodation and shelter so that the people can stay pending when the water recede, and we will provide them with food and non food items.
“You recall in 2012, we had a similar incident, even more devastating than what we are witnessing now, that was when Cameroon released water from Lado Dam. It is a routine maintenance that they carry out when their Dams are about to over flow, so they release water annually. Now, we heard this information that they are going to release this water, and this information has been passed to the relevant authorities, those who should take action.
“We keep saying that early warning must be matched with early actions, but that has never been done.
“But this flood is not as a result of the opening of the Dam, it is certainly not, but it is part of it. So we should expect more flood, more States, especially the frontline States will be flooded.
“The lasting solution is that people must desist in building their houses in flood prone areas. They should not build near natural water ways and green zones. If build houses in these areas, what you will expect is flood. So people should abide by building regulations, efficient and functional urban planning, and we must open up our drainages, stop the habit of indiscriminate dumping of refuse because water must find its way”.