Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Vice-Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed yesterday said Nigeria’s food security was under serious threat following flood disaster in Kebbi, Jigawa and other parts of the country. Muhammed, who spoke yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, lamented that farmers in the country were recording huge losses of crops as a result of flood disaster in many parts of the country. The NEMA boss, who spoke during an advocacy visit to the state, described the loss as unquantifiable to the affected states and the nation.
Muhammed, who was represented by Air Commodore Edward Kolawole Adedokun, said, a large sum of farm produce expected to boost the national food security had been lost to flood in Kebbi, Jigawa and other affected areas. According to him, the Annual Flood Outlook revealed that 102 Local Government Areas in 28 states were within high probable areas, while 275 LGs in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with moderately probable risk areas. He noted that there was urgent need for states to take proactive and mitigating measures towards addressing the flood crisis.
In Ogun State, Muhammed explained that the highly probable risk areas were Abeokuta South, Ogun Waterside and Ijebu East Local Government Areas while Ewekoro, Abeokuta North, Odeda and Ifo Local government areas fell within the probable flood areas.
He said: “I was in Kebbi about two weeks back, farms were submerged. That means the junk of rice expected to boost the national food security is gone. “So, it is a loss to the nation, it is a loss to Kebbi State Government. And the same thing is replicated in the Jigawa state and across Nigeria; States are losing people, houses and farms. “You can’t really quantify it.
It is a great loss to the country.” In his response, Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu – Balogun, said the government had already commenced massive dredging of rivers and desilting of canals across the state to curb incidences of flooding. Abudu – Balogun hinted that residents living in about 40 communitieprone to flood had been asked to relocate temporarily as part of moves to save lives and properties. The Commissioner disclosed that a number of residents had started relocating already as the government would deploy persuasive means and not a force to ensure the affected communities vacate the flood plain areas. He, however, called for continuous support of the Federal Government in the provision of relief materials for disaster victims across the state.