The Secretary to the Abia Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro, has said that the state lacked the financial capacity to handle emergencies that may arise from possibe flood disaster in the area. Okoro made this known in an interview with newsmenin Umuahia on Friday.
He spoke against the backdrop of the recent forecast of possible flood disaster in many states of the federation in 2016. He said that the intervention from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) would not be able to tackle flood disaster in any part of the state He said, “the funds for the immediate intervention in the event of flooding are not readily available because funds from NEMA have whittled down.
“If we are faced with the magnitude of flooding that requires evacuation of the affected communities, we shall beckon on the Federal Government for its intervention,” Okoro said. Okoro said that states lacked the logistics to handle flood disasters, and urged the Federal Government “to plan ahead to be able to intervene in states with flood disasters”. He said that the Abia State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), which operates directly from his office, had a group called the “Rapid Response Team.”
According to him, the team regularly monitors situations in flood-prone areas and bring feedback to his office. He said that “feelers from the team will help the state government to react timeously in the event that flooding reaches a level of catastrophe in any part of the state.”
He also said that the state SEMA “is in constant communication with NEMA” and was “poised to react positively in case of any disaster”. Okoro said that the state government had begun the enforcement of the Land Use Management and Land Use Capability Classification Act.
“This is to ensure that before we do anything on a piece of land, we have to assess it’s capability so that we do not defoliate the land and expose it to erosion,” he said.
The SSG also spoke on the implication of the lingering governorship tussle in the state, saying that it had slowed down the pace of development. He said that the series of legal battles Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had faced since his inauguration as the governor had posed serious distraction to him.
He, however, said that Ikpeazu remained focused and committed to deliver on his campaign promises to the people. “If those challenging his election in court stopped us from doing N10 projects, we do N4 project. “This administration is positively concerned about our people and Ikpeazu is determined to transform all his vision to reality,” he said.