FG presents relief materials to Kebbi

• Says over 20,000 hectares of rice farmlands lost to flash flood

The Federal Government has presented multi-million naira worth of relief materials to Kebbi State Government with the view to cushion the effects of the torrential rains and inflow of water from neighbouring states which washed away over 20,000 hectares of rice farmlands, penultimate week.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, handed over food items including 31 trailer load of Maize, 33 trailer load of Millet and four trailer load of Sorghum to cater to the needs of 272,301 households in Kebbi State on Wednesday.

At the presentation of COVID-19 palliatives and flood advocacy relief materials to the Kebbi State Government, the Minister sympathised with the farmers who were said to have lost over 20,000 hectares of rice farmlands to the floods.

“Let me begin by conveying the sympathy of the Federal Government to the Government and people of Kebbi State over the recent floods that inundated many communities and farmlands.

“It is sad that in some of these farms, the crops were said to be nearing harvest, thus cutting short the joy of bumper reaping by the expectant farmers who have invested so many resources.

“The President, Muhammadu Buhari is deeply concerned about the impact of the flood and has since directed the assessment of the situation in Kebbi and other states for the necessary support to the affected persons from the Federal Government.

“I am here on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, to present to you, assorted grains from the National Food Reserve, approved as a palliative for distribution to vulnerable persons affected by the action of movement restriction to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Government is also supporting the communities displaced by the floods with rice, beans, blankets, mosquito nets, insect repellents, roofing sheets, cement, nails and other essential materials needed to put up make-shift shelters for the affected persons.”

She, however, recalled that the Federal Government had also approved and initiated an Emergency Agricultural Intervention in 2018 and flagged off verification of 10,834 affected farmers in 2019.

The Minister, who visited the Dukka bridge which was swept away by the flood, cutting off the community’s link with other villages, described the extent of damage as colossal.

She said farm inputs comprising seeds and seedlings, agrochemicals, knapsack sprayers and fertilizers were distributed to target beneficiaries in Birnin Kebbi, Shanga, Gwandu, Bunza, Jega, Aliero, Kalgo, Dandi and Zuru Local Government Areas to enable them to recover from the losses suffered and urged the State Government to activate measures against further damage by the flood.

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Speaking earlier during the inspection of the collapsed bridge, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, lamented the massive destruction of rice farms by the floods describing it as unprecedented.

“This flood is coming from the River Niger, from neighbouring States like Adamawa, from Rima River, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger.

“To my right is our border with Sokoto and it’s all a rice farm on both sides. At the minimum, a 600km plain was destroyed by the flood. This is very unusual because we always pray for the flood to help our rice farming but this is extreme because once the rice is covered by water for more than three days, it’s gone. The last time we had something like this was in 2012,” he noted.

Governor Bagudu pleaded with the Minister to donate seedlings to the farmers to resume farming as soon as possible.

“We want to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention which started in 2018. The most important support needed now is not even food to eat today. It is that in the next two weeks, they should have seedlings to plant again. We plead that the farmers are supported with high-quality seedlings so that they can start planting again.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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