By Demola Akinyemi
ILORIN—Disaster looms in Kwara State as hundreds of farmers in the northern part of the state ordered to relocate from their farmlands to escape the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA’s predictions of flood, have bluntly declined because, according to them, their umbilical cords were buried in the marked areas.
Recall that Kwara State was listed, last year, by NEMA as one of the states likely to be affected by flood this outgoing year, and further investigations by the state government have zeroed in on areas likely to be affected as the northern parts of the state.
The identified areas are Tsaragi, Lafiagi, Shonga, Bacita, Patigi and Gbaradogi. Others are Fangan, Kpata all in Edu, Moro and Patigi Local Government areas.
We’ve been begging them—Commissioner
Speaking at a briefing in Ilorin, the state capital, yesterday, on the prevention of imminent flood disaster in Kwara State, Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Otunba Taiwo Joseph, expressed concern that despite several appeals to the farmers to vacate the areas to the alternatives provided for them, they had bluntly refused to leave because their umbilical cords were buried there.
He said: “Other top government officials and have visited the farmers in these areas several times, asking them to relocate because of the looming disaster. But they have bluntly refused to leave.
“They are claiming that their umbilical cords were buried in the place. If somebody hears the date of his death, must you wait for any reason?”
He nevertheless noted that so far, no flood disaster had occurred in any part of the state as a result of interventions and media campaigns by the government.
The Commissioner also urged farmers along the river banks to farm with extreme caution until the current rainy season ends.
He also advised residents across the state to ensure that “all silted drainage be promptly de-silted to allow for free flow of water,” noting that waste be properly disposed to designated areas and not on drainage.
He further urged that residents should desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the water ways and also enjoined the local government councils and the traditional rulers to localise the campaign in their domains.