The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi, on Sunday said the use of uncovered soakaways by several households in Minna, Niger state capital and the open defecation of residents in gutters and drainages May cause major health problem. Sidi made this known in Minna, at the sensitisation workshop on building resilient communities and community- managed early warning system organised by the Agency for communities and stakeholders in the state.

The Director General represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Minna operation office, Mr. Slaku Lugard Bijimi, expressed concern over such primitive practices in the city adding that “this could result in the outbreak of cholera epidemic and other air borne diseases in minna any time”. He listed Saiko, Agwan Kaje, Makera, Kpakungu communities of Minna as high risk areas where residents live below average standard hygiene practices, adding that the situation in such areas had reached very dangerous point because of high density population.

“This workshop is about building resilient communities particularly focused on Minna, Niger state because we have discovered that where there are infrastructures they are not properly maintained and then there are attitudes and acts that some of these people exhibit that can cause problem for them.

” For instance from the presentation we saw, people have houses and they do not have soakaways so they channel everything to an open place and then they use the good drainage system, the gutters that are available as places to excrete and dump their refuse. These constitute potential health hazards and could lead to outbreak of epidemics in the communities”, he explained.  “The communities should put more efforts to clean-up their environment and promote measures that will enhance resilience. Let’s join hands together to avert the reoccurrence of fire and other forms of disaster that happened early this year”, he asserted.

He however advised communities to partner with various organisations to make sound self assessment of their resilience to disaster and disruptions and appropriately prioritize preparedness efforts, allocate funding, and develop more innovative ways to organise their material and human resources. He explained that early warning must lead to early action through linking warnings with mechanisms for preparedness, response and recovery. He called on the media to live to its responsibility of creating awareness before, during and after disasters.

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