Kano State has forged a strategic partnership with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in an effort to boost disaster preparedness and response in the state.
The partnership comes as a response to the early forecasts released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), indicating an early onset of rainfall and a high probability of flooding across the country in 2023.
During the ceremony held on Thursday at the coronation hall in Kano, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, the Director General of NEMA, praised the state for its proactive approach to disaster risk reduction.
According to him, the collaboration aims to strengthen disaster management capabilities at the grassroots level and mitigate the impact of potential floods during the 2023 rainy season.
He said, “I am happy and proud that Kano State is amongst the first states that invited NEMA to witness the inauguration of SEMAs of the 44 Local Governments of the State.
“I am very confident that the existence of SEMAs in all the Local Government Areas of Kano State will enable the NEMA Territorial Office in Kano to work closely with them to further downscale flood early warning systems to the grassroots.
“This initiative will no doubt enable us to take risk’ informed decisions and to match early warning with early action.”
He emphasized the importance of empowering local actors, including Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs), to take ownership of disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.
“The first lifesaving responders are always local before additional support will come from the state capital or Abuja.
“We must therefore strive to support our Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) with adequate capacity building, funding and equipment to take Disaster Risk Management to the communities.
“With this, we can be able to build safe and resilient communities and by extension a safer and resilient Nigeria,”he said.
In his address, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano thanked NEMA for choosing the state to host an important annual event.
Represented by Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, the secretary to the state government, the governor stated that Kano, as one of the worst-hit areas last year, was predicted to face flooding in 2023 across 23 local governments.
“These LGs are Ajingi, Dala, Dawakin Kudu, Dawakin Tofa, Garum Malam, Gaya, Tofa, Tarauni, Kano Municipal, Kumbotso, Rimin Gado, Tudun Wada, Wudil, Gabasawa, Gezawa , Gwale, Madobi, Minjibir, Ungogo, Warawa, Rano, Kura and Kabo.
“Learning from our previous experiences of past floods in Kano state and guided by the elaborate guidelines forwarded by federal agencies like NEMA, NIMET, NIHSA, and others, Kano State has triggered the flood response plan, which is being coordinated by multiple MDs in the state,” he said.
“I am excited to report to this August gathering that Kano State, after triggering the flood response plan guided by the advice of NEMA and KNUPDA, is working round the clock to ensure the removal of all illegal structures erected on waterways and drainages to allow free flow of water and reduce the risk of urban flooding.
“The Kano agency for road maintenance (KARMA) together with the Ministry of Environment has received approval and sufficient funding to commence the desilting of all drainages in the metropolitan local government of the state so as to allow unimpeded flow of water during this rainy season.
“In addition, the Ministry of Environment has been working tirelessly for the past 10 weeks, evacuating refuse and debris from all collection centers in the state, as well as desilting major drainages and waterways to redirect water away from the city.”
He added that, “We are organizing special support to move vulnerable communities to safer and higher ground and we are liaising with federal agencies and development partners to secure funding for emergency preparedness, flood management, and victim support.”
The governor also emphasized the need for federal support to expand the Kano State irrigation master plan for better flood management and irrigation coverage.