Communique issued at the end of a workshop on disaster management in Bayelsa State
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), in collaboration with Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency, organized a 2-day step down workshop on disaster management for selected staff of Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Councils in Bayelsa State, from Wednesday 8th – Thursday 9th October, 2014 at SSG Conference Hall, State Secretariat, Yenagoa. The workshop was held in pursuance of the Strengthening Oil Revenue Management in Niger Delta Project phase 2, which ANEEJ is currently implementing with support from the Royale Norwegian Embassy and it was used to train participants on the following thematic areas;
• Definitional issues- principles of disaster management
• Standard practices in flood control and disaster management
• Importance of early warning signal in disaster management
• Mass sheltering during emergencies
The workshop was attended by 25 participants comprising staff of Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Councils, Bayelsa Emergency Management Agency, Journalists and the Resource Persons.
At the end of the workshop, participants made the following observations:
• Expressed worry that at the moment, local government councils and even the State government seem not to be prepared to handle disaster and other emergency situation after the 2012 flood disaster.
• That most Local Government Councils including Yenagoa and Ogbia still do not have a Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) in place in violation of NEMA Act and Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency Law of 2012.
• That there is a wave of ocean surge currently threatening communities in Brass, Nembe, Ekeremor and particularly Koluama I and II Communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, which urgent step need to be taken to check the ugly trend.
• That many riverine communities are currently facing serious coastal and river erosion such as Anyama, Ayakoro and Okeki in Ogbia Local Government; Famgbe, Ikolo and Ogu in Yenagoa Local Government, among others.
In the light of the above, participants resolved as follows:
• Urged the relevant government agencies to put the necessary facilities in place that will enable them to adequately respond to disaster and other emergency situation.
• Urged the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency to liaise with the Ministry of Local Government Administration to ensure that all Local Government Councils in Bayelsa State constitute the Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) in compliance with NEMA Act and Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency Law of 2012.
• Called on the relevant government agencies to take action concerning the wave of ocean surge currently threatening communities in Brass, Nembe, Ekeremor and particularly Koluama I and II Communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, to ensure that the situation is put under control.
• Appealed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Bayelsa State Government to consider the pilling and construction of dykes across communities mentioned above and others that are threatened by coastal and river erosion, as the problem is well above the capacity of the affected Local Government Councils.
Participants commended Bayelsa State Government for setting up the Bayelsa Emergency Management Agency as a direct response to the 2012 flood disaster, which they consider as a step in the right direction and also expressed gratitude to ANEEJ and the Royal Norwegian Embassy for considering them to benefit from such an important workshop.
Lt. Col. Roland Iyekoroghe, Director General, Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency
Frank Edwin, H.O.D Works, Yenagoa Local Government Council
Oboro Harvest, Supervisory Councilor for Education, Ogbia Local Government Council
Innocent Edemhanria, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)