It is a great pleasure for me and members of my team to be here in Kano at this auspicious venue of the coronation hall for this very important occasion of the downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective live-saving early actions during the 2023 rainy season.
Let me use this opportunity to congratulate Your Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State for your victory in the recent general elections and subsequent taking of oath as Executive Governor of the State. Your Excellency, I pray that Allah, SWT guides you in the daunting task. Let me also say that, I always look forward to attending events like this in Kano because it grants me the opportunity to come back home and meet my loved ones.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you may recall that, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) have released their 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), respectively early in the year. The two vital documents contained meteorological forecasts indicating early onset of rainfall and high probability of flooding across the country during the year. It is on this premise that NEMA drawing from its mandate of disaster risk management decided to take the initiative to downscale early warning alerts to States, Local Government Authorities and communities at risk of flood disaster and associated hazards. This will enable them make appropriate plans that can save lives, livelihoods, critical national assets and the natural ecasystem which is the bedrock for sustainable development.
As we are aware, Nigeria like other nations of the world is faced with a growing rate of occurrence and intensity of both human and nature induced disasters. Most of the nature induced disasters are hydro-meteorological in nature powered by climate change and climate variability. Flood disaster in Nigeria has become predictable and yet annually recurring with substantial human and material costs. In line with NEMA paradigm shift towards Disaster Risk Reduction and to take Disaster Risk Management to the grassroots, we have decided to support sub-national level actors including States, Local Governments and communities to take ownership of their responsibility of disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. We can only achieve this through the deployment of scientific information in form of impact based predictions that constitute the foundation of early warning advisories and disaster risk mapping to be delivered to end users in disaster management and development planning.
Earlier as part of our disaster risk communication we have written letters to all State Governors and responsible partners drawing their attention on imminent floods and associated secondary hazards during the rainy season. We are compelled to drive this communication in order to avoid a repeat of what we experienced last year. In 2022, Nigeria experienced the most devastating flood disaster in our national history with more than 4 million people affected, over 2 million persons displaced and a record deaths of 665 people. The flood also caused damage and destruction to about 355,986 houses and 944,989 hectares of farmlands. Kano was amongst the worst hit states during the 2022 flood season. I can vividly recall my visit to some of the worst affected communities in Warawa and Wudil Local Government Areas together with officials of Kano SEMA on assessment missions. Subsequently, NEMA has supported Kano State Government with wide ranging short term relief items. This was followed by the Special National Economic Livelihood Emergency intervention (SNELEI) recovery items that NEMA has delivered to warehouses here in Kano ready for handover to enumerated beneficiaries.
As we have always emphasized, there are different categories of , disasters. Certain disasters can be avoidable, others can be transferable or adaptable. Yet, we can only achieve this by deploying credible information, developing the right plans and getting people at the grassroots to take the right decision and provide timely response when disasters hit. It is worthy of note that disasters are all local, they happen in particular communities in a particular Local Government Areas. 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.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, 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 take risk’ informed decisions and to match early warning with early action. Furthermore, this partnership will enhance effective disaster risk management, safeguard our national food security and engender sustainable socio-economic growth in Kano state in Nigeria. To once more drive NEMA partnership with Kano SEMA, we are soon sending them invitation for Executive Level Capacity Building Programs to be organised by the Bournemouth University Disaster Risk Management Centre to be hosted by NEMA. Furthermore, we are inviting Kano SEMA for a capacity building program organised by UN-OCHA and to be hosted by NEMA.
Finally I want to sincerely thank His Excellency the Governor of Kano State, His Deputy, Honourable Commissioners, our distinguished participants, members of the press. and all those unseen individuals that worked assiduously for the success of this occasion.
Thank you all. –