Kwara state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said the perennial flood disaster affecting some communities, especially in the northern part of the state will soon be over, thanking the federal government for supporting his efforts to maximise public safety in the state.
The Governor spoke in Ilorin at the weekend during a One-day Stakeholders’ Meeting on the activities of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC).
AbdulRazaq, who commended the federal government and its statutory bodies for making brilliant moves to check the menace in states mostly affected, noted that such intervention by HYPPADEC will equally result in improved electricity across the country.
“I must commend the Commission for giving a sense of respite to the flooded communities to cushion the effect of hardship they face annually. Most of those communities that lack access to electricity are exposed to severe environmental degradation, flooding and continue to suffer untold hardship since their livelihoods are solely dependent on fishing and farming. So, they are vulnerable,” he said.
“In view of this (step being taken), time has come to give the people assurances of our resolve to bring an end to their plights. It is my hope that the problem of shortage of power, disasters such as lead poisoning and erosion, will soon be a thing of the past.”
Represented by the Secretary to the state government, Professor Mamman Saba Jibril, the Governor advised the Commission to concentrate on dredging the sediments, rather than the river banks, adding that tree planting at the banks can also solidify soil, thereby reducing overflowing of water from Rivers Niger and Benue.
The event was attended by community representatives from across Edu, Patigi, Kaiama, Moro, Baruten and Asa local governments, including some royal fathers from the three senatorial districts.
Managing Director, HYPPADEC, Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa, for his part, said the Commission is charged with the responsibility to, among other things, manage the ecological challenges in the six HYPPADEC member states of Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Benue, Plateau and Kebi.
He thanked AbdulRazaq and his counterparts in the HYPPADEC zone for making fruitful efforts that resulted in the smooth takeoff of the Commission, “ten years after its establishment act had been signed into law”.
Dr. Muhammed Alkali, who presented the Needs Assessment Report, said their team gathered data from at least 6000 households across communities in six local governments – Edu, Patigi, Kaiama, Baruten, Moro and Asa, whose houses and farmlands that were severely affected by flood.
Dr. Alkali, who is the Programme Director in the Commission, said the exercise was carried out to identify flood areas, victims and the size of their losses, relying on ICT to get facts and figures.
“When we were doing research we asked so many questions. How severe, for example, was the effect of the flood? Which one affected life and properties? Because we know when the hydroelectricity dam is overflowing there will be flood which affects farmlands and properties. Sometimes even lives are lost. So we could see how devastating and severe it was in Kwara state,” he said.
He noted that some of their respondents said they were rarely aware of any pre-flood notice from concerned authorities, calling on governments in the member states to improve on the level of awareness creation for the general public to curb the losses to flood on yearly basis.