Some states have said they had started taking steps to stem the tide of severe flooding that may result from release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon.
The Cameroonian government had in a letter addressed to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, weekend, warned of its intention to release water from the Lagdo dam and asked the agency to take precautionary measures.
However, states, some of which are on the frontline of flooding caused by release of water from the dam, said they had already started taking steps to prevent loss of lives and destruction of properties. Such states, including Lagos, Benue and Delta, have also asked people living in flood-prone areas to relocate to higher grounds.
We‘re well prepared — LASEMA
Reacting to the alert from Cameroon government yesterday, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, assured of the state government’s preparedness to promptly tackle any possible emergency that could arise from the impending flood in the state.
According to him, the state government has provided LASEMA with 144 units of facilities that could accommodate 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the event of any emergency.
He said: “Lagos is well prepared. As you can see, LASEMA has changed from management to holistic emergency management.”
What we mean here is that we have moved into the improved strategy of clearing canals and ensuring local governments have their local response, called Environmental Guard.
“The purpose is to ensure effective clearing of tertiary drainages and environmental gang clearing the secondary drainage, thereby complementing each other simultaneously.
“We have met with the 57 local government chairmen on the need to put all primary emergency responders on alert. We are fine-tuning and strengthening our local response mechanism.
‘’We have carried out risk analyses, resource mappings, opened directories in each council to know the vulnerable people in terms of emergency situation. All these measures are geared towards ensuring swift, prompt, and effective response.
“We are carrying out enlightenment and sensitization programmes to get residents prepared across the councils.
“The type of flood we have in Lagos called flash floods disappears within 30 minutes and one hour due to improved infrastructure and machinery in place. We are prepared.”
Benue govt directs residents to vacate floodplains, and evacuate blocked drainages.
Also reacting, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, directed all those living on flood plains across the state to vacate such places to safer areas. Executive Secretary of the agency, Sir James Iorpuu, issued the warning yesterday while reacting to the alert from the Federal Government to states on the impending flood, following notification from Cameroonian authorities of the release of water from the Lagdo dam on Benue River due to heavy downpour in Northern Cameroon.
Speaking through the Head of Administration of the agency, Mr. Donald Komgbebda, the executive secretary said the agency is intensifying its awareness campaign to have the people prepared for the impending flood.
He said: “What we are doing now is to intensify the awareness campaign across the state to ensure that all those on flood plains vacate such areas.
“We also have plans to take steps to mitigate the affect of the flood on the people but for now the priority is to get the people to safer places.
“Though we also have contingency plans and we will not allow our people be subjected to untold hardship following the flood.
‘’All stakeholders in the matter will be mobilised to ensure that all hands are on deck to take actions to mitigate the impact of the impending flood.”
Governor Hyacinth Alia recently also appealed to all those on the banks of River Benue and flood plains to vacate those areas.
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The governor, who spoke while flagging off the distribution of food and nonfood items donated by the National Emergency Management Agency,2022 flood disaster in the state, also appealed to residents to immediately commence clean-up of gutters and waterways in order to help mitigate effect of the flood in the state.
We won’t hesitate to set up IDP camps – Delta govt
Similarly, Delta State government said it is taking proactive steps to mitigate the effect of flooding in the state, saying it will not hesitate to set up internally displaced persons, IDP, camps in the event of any severe flooding.
Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Sir Festus Ahon said: “We are already opening drainages and demolishing illegal structures blocking the waterways.
“We believe and hope that if we open up the drainages, it will help to reduce the effects of the flood. However, we advise those living in coastal communities to start moving to higher grounds.
‘’As it stands now, if need be, the state government will not hesitate to set up IDP camps for flood victims.’’ Bayelsa govt asks FG to come to states’ rescue.
Similarly, Mr Daniel Alabrah, Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa State governor said: “As a government we have opened up major canals and water channels.
‘’The governor has also set up flood and erosion control directorate which has since commenced operations because of our experience last year.”
He, however, urged the Federal Government to take the necessary steps to support states in tackling the menace of flooding instead of just issuing alerts.
His words: “We cannot dredge the rivers because of the NIWA Act which vests such power on the Federal Government. If the federal government does it part by dredging the River Benue and River Niger, the impact on states will be minimal.
‘’We need the Federal Government to play key roles. The Federal Government issuing warning or alerts to states is not enough.
‘’You know we do not have the resources to tackle this issue but the state government is currently handling shoreline protection work in some communities.”
Meanwhile, the Cameroonian government had in a letter signed by the Director of African Affairs, Umar Salisu, said the decision to open the Lagdo Dam is to reduce the level of water caused by the persistent rain in Cameroon.
It urged NEMA to immediately take precautionary measures and sensitise people of the affected areas to reduce whatever damage the resultant flooding might cause.
The letter read: “I have the honour to inform that the ministry is in receipt of a Note Verbale from the High Commission of the Republic of Cameroon informing that Cameroonian officials have resolved to open the flood gates of the Lagdo Dam on the Benue River in days ahead, due to heavy rainfall around the dam catchment area in Northern Cameroon.Groom Drowns As Flood Wreak Havoc In Ondo
“According to the Note, it is pertinent to note that when the release of water becomes necessary, the authorities of Lagdo Dam will be releasing only modulated variable small amounts of water at a time in order to mitigate and avoid damages that the released water may cause along the River Benue basin in both Cameroon and Nigeria.
“In view of the above, it would be appreciated if the esteemed agency takes all the necessary proactive steps and actions that will mitigate the damage as well as sensitize the populace living in such areas for vigilance and all necessary precautions.”
The Cameroonian government also urged residents of the affected areas to remain calm and follow instructions of the authorities.
We’ve since alerted govs, it’s left for them to take action — NEMA
Reacting to the letter yesterday, NEMA said the notice is not new, noting that it had since informed state governors of impeding floods, including that from the Lagdo Dam.
NEMA’s spokesperson, Manzo Ezekiel, said it is time for the affected state governors to take action and secure lives and properties, in collaboration with NEMA. He said: “There was a particular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the DG NEMA and NEMA is the recipient of that publication. The communication is not coming to us by surprise and has not taken us by surprise.
“In our preparation for flood mitigation and response this year, we envisaged that a situation like this will arise.
In all our programs and activities for flood management this year, we had in mind that there could be a release of water and.
‘’Therefore, in line with this, NEMA has written to all the state governments, including the governors of the frontline states that are likely to be impacted by the release of this water from Lagdo Dam.
“So what has happened now is just a way of confirming our program and the time has come for us to tell the government of the states that are likely to be impacted to match all the awareness information we have given them with actions, so that people that are living along the river areas would begin to have a plan to move away.
‘’Ths is because the release of the water has a consequence of overflowing the river bank.
“Therefore, NEMA is prepared and we have begun preparations long before now.”
OAU Reviews Tuition Fees
The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has reviewed the school fees payable by the students of the university.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, obtained in Osogbo on Monday stated that the management reduced the fees after a meeting held with the students.
Olanrewaju had said that the Students Union leaders were adamant, insisting that the fees should be reduced by 50%.
He added that the university management made it clear that the new charges were the minimum the university require to run efficiently.
READ ALSO: OAU Hikes Tuition Fees
“Accordingly, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebayo Simeon Bamire, graciously announced that the charges initially announced have been reduced as follows:
“For the students in Humanities, the initial sundry charges of #89, 200 for returning students have been reduced to #76,000 while the new students in the Humanities, the initial fees of #151,200 have been reduced to #131,000.
“For those in the Sciences and Technology, the initial charges of #101,200, for returning students is now #86,000 while the new students in the same Faculties will now pay #141,000 instead of the initial #163,200.
“In the same vein, the returning students in the Pharmacy and College of Health Sciences will now pay #109,000, instead of #128,200. The new students in the same Faculties will now pay #164,000 instead of the initial charges of #190,000,” the statement partly read.
It added that the university management has agreed that the payment can be in two equal installments.
Hope Rises As Edo, FG Inspect Benin-Abraka Road
The Minister of Niger Delta Development, Abubakar Momoh; the Edo State Commissioner for Roads and Bridges, Engr. Ethan Uzamere and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, at the weekend inspected ongoing construction of the Benin-Abraka Road.
Impressed with the level of work done on the road, the delegation reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the development of critical infrastructure to boost economic growth and development.
Momoh said, “The Benin-Abraka Road is one of the roads under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). This road was awarded in 2009 and about 15km out of the 88km has been constructed by the Ministry of Niger Delta Development.
“Also, I understand that there was an MoU between the State government and NDDC to complete the remaining parts of the road. I have also been told that the State government has awarded 40.5km out of the 88km, which means about 28km is left uncompleted.
“From the work done so far, I am impressed and hope the rest of the road is completed up to Abraka in Delta State so that the people in this area will make use of the road but if it’s not completed up to Abraka the purpose will be defeated.”
He added, “I am happy that the MD of NDDC is here and will take the documents back home to study them and get back to the State government because the project needs to be jointly funded to enable it see the light of the day.”
The Minister, while decrying the poor state of roads across the country, noted, “Looking at the time lines under this present administration, we should be looking at the next two to three years because we have a lot of roads across the Country and Niger Delta is bad. It’s difficult to access Warri through this route. When coming from Akure today, it was difficult to access Akure through Owan and we had to pass through Ore. That shows that the people from Edo North are completely cut off from Benin City.”
He added, “If the only road we manage through Ondo State is no longer accessible, you know Benin-Auchi road has been cut-off and it shows we are in trouble. We will begin to look at this problem. We have a listening President who will look at this because he is ready to bring development to every part of Nigeria and we believe that by the time we present the report of our findings, these problems will be attended to.”
On his part, Uzamere, while noting the importance of the inspection, stated, “This kind of visit is necessary because, the issue being looked at. The road is for the development of the people. We are here with the Minister and the MD of NDDC to see what is going on so far.”
What I’ll Do If I Were President – Pastor Adeyemi
The Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, has proposed a weekly practice of addressing constituents if he were in a leadership role as President of Nigeria or the governor of a state.
Adeyemi emphasised the importance of regular communication between leaders and the people and stressed that such addresses could be brief, but they would focus on promoting development and progress.
He said this while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, on Monday.
“If I was the governor or president of Nigeria, I would address the nation every Sunday evening or Monday. It may be five minutes but I will sell the idea of development.
“For too long, we’ve allowed those in power to dictate our path forward. If they are unwilling to instigate change, we must initiate it ourselves, starting at the individual level,” Adeyemi asserted.
While highlighting the power of communication, particularly through social media and modern communication tools, in spreading messages and initiating change, he underlined the need for responsible leadership at all levels and encouraged citizens to take an active role in shaping the future of Nigeria.
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