By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
In a bid to rally the Federal Government for support to combat the ecological and developmental issues in his state, Kwara state Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq Tuesday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at Presidential Villa Abuja to solicit for help to combat the twin problems of ecological and developmental issues.
AbdulRazaq who spoke to State House Correspondents also said the President assured him of the support of Federal Government to cushion the effect of the natural disaster.
The interview went thus:
“I came to the President, among other things, to discuss ecological and developmental issues. And over the weekend, we had huge rainstorm that destroyed about 5,000 houses in the State capital. We had huge flooding in Kwara North and the bank of River Niger. There are a lot of internally displaced people at the bank of River Niger and in the State capital. The State needs virtual aid to abate the crisis.
Very proactive, the Federal Government is coming in to assist the State. The new General Manager (GM) at National Emergence Agency (NEMA) is also coming to Kwara to see the situation for himself. Already, NEMA is on ground in Kwara. He promised that the cycle will be shorter this time around. Before, after flooding, it will take up to six months before the aid comes in. But he has promised that things have been turned around at NEMA and they will act promptly. I believe him because he is an ex-Airforce officer. It will be regimented.
On the Extent of Damage
“We have about 5,000 houses and thousands of hectares of farmland are under water. Close to about 10,000 to 15,000 people are already displaced so far. So, it’s straining the State’s economy. That is why we need virtual aid.
How has the flooding affected food security?
Luckily for us, we did two cycles of rice farming in the area affected. We are hoping to do three cycles. Yes, there is huge impact. We are expecting bumper harvest this season, especially with Federal Government’s intervention in the agricultural sector. But unfortunately, we are going to lose this harvest and we hope we will be able to gain ground. We also thank Federal Government as they gave 10,000 Hectares Irrigation Scheme to boost our dry season farming. That project is on course now.
The first line is things like blankets, buckets, food, roofing sheets, and building materials generally. After that come things like fertilizers, pesticides, and seedlings to help them recover.
We are checking about N5 to N10bn in losses.
What efforts have you made? How much have you spent?
Immediately it started, we have NEMA on ground and State Emergency Management Agency. The first thing wm you do is to collate data. We have been collating data. And from today, palliatives have started going out. We also thank God because of some of food donated by CACOVID to Kwara State. Some of them are in the warehouse. So, they are very handful and useful in what we are doing.