REPORT OF STEP DOWN WORKSHOP ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT HELD IN YENAGOA, BAYELSA STATE

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INTRODUCTION

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.

About 25 participants attended the workshop comprising staff of Yenagoa and Ogbia Local Government Councils, Bayelsa Emergency Management Agency, Journalists and the Resource Persons.

 

OPENING

The workshop opened with an welcome speech by Innocent Edemhanria on behalf of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, where he thanked participants for honouring ANEEJ invitation to the event.

He recalled how in 2012, flood ravaged some parts of the country leaving many dead and several others homeless with properties worth billions of naira destroyed in the process.

A lot of persons were sacked from their homes and their farmland as well as other sources of livelihood destroyed.

Edemhanria reviewed the effort of Federal, States, Local Government Councils as well as other groups who responded to the disaster in terms of setting up of relief camps, distribution of relief materials, provision of food and health care for affected persons, resettlement and empowerment among other things.

As a result of the unfortunate occurrence, ANEEJ in 2013, commissioned a baseline study to ascertain the level of preparedness of States and Local Governments Councils in the region to tackle flood and other disasters.

The study also covered the level of implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoni Land of Rivers State.

As a result, a regional workshop was held in July 2014, in Benin City to present the outcome of the baseline study to key stakeholders in the region.

According to Edemhanria, the step down workshop is a follow up to the regional workshop. He thanked the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency for working closely with ANEEJ to organize the event.

He also expressed ANEEJ gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Embassy for supporting the strengthening oil revenue management in Niger Delta Project phase 2.

He particularly thanked the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Rolf Ree, for the support given to ANEEJ so far in the implementation of the project and finally wished participants a successful outing.

 

WELCOME NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, BAYELSA STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY – LT. COL. ROLAND IYEKOROGHE (RTD)

Iyekoroghe on behalf of Bayelsa SEMA welcomed participants to the workshop and expressed joy that ANEEJ has chosen to collaborate with them to host the workshop.

He recalled how ANEEH held the regional workshop on disaster management in Benin City and noted that ANEEJ has also taken the initiative to step down to workshop for local government councils.

According to him, the issues to be discussed are important to prepare the councils to handle disaster. Iyekoroghe went further to state that, participants were carefully selected such that in case of any disaster, they will be useful in responding to the situation. He expressed his gratitude for the useful collaboration and hopped that it will be sustained.

He urged participants to take interest in the issues to be discussed as it will be helpful to them.

 

GOODWILL MESSAGE FROM THE SPECIAL GUEST – SA TO BAYELSA STATE GOVERNOR ON EMERGENCY AND RELIEF – MRS FAITH OPENE

In her goodwill message, the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Emergency and Relief, Mrs. Faith Opene expressed delight to be invited to the event as special guest and noted that the two local government councils participating in the training were badly affected by the 2012 flood disaster.

So with this workshop, those who participated should be able to prepare themselves for future occurrence.

According to her, she was at the center of the management of the 2012 flood disaster and that the State was not prepared at all, but the government did everything possible to save lives and manage the situation.

She mentioned that many have not witnessed that magnitude of flood in the past, this is why it became necessary for all to prepare. Even, this year, there were predictions that there will be flooding, thank God that it has not happened as the raining season has almost ended.

She urged participants to be attentive so as to learn from the workshop and take the massage to their respective councils. She thereafter declared the workshop opened.

After the brief opening ceremony, participants took group photograph and thereafter proceeded for a short break.

PAPERS PRESENTED

The following papers were presented during the workshop by two resource persons who were Akangbou E. Tosan, Director in charge of Relief, Rehabilitation and Emergency, Delta State Emergency Management Agency: and Ukpokodu Joseph, immediate past Director, Edo State Emergency Management Agency.

The papers covered the following topics;

  • 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

After each paper, plenary session followed where participants exhaustively discussed the paper and also ask the necessary questions.

Participants later worked in groups to identify the common disaster that are prevalent in their area and later presented their report which was also discussed.

Group 1: Yenagoa LGA

  1. Carbon emission/air pollution
  2. Erosion/Flooding
  3. Fire outbreak
  4. Oil spillage
  5. Sand dressing activities

Group 2: Ogbia LGA

  1. Flood
  2. Wild fire
  3. Oil spillage
  4. Extinction of food crops and some wild animals
  5. Epidemic
  6. Air pollution
  7. Communal crisis

 

CONCLUSION

Innocent Edemhanria at the end of the workshop commended participants for their level of commitment during the workshop.

Participants were later evaluation to ascertain their level of understanding of the issues discussed during the workshop.

Participants also agreed on a communiqué being outcome of the meeting and the workshop thus ended.

 

APPENDIX COMMUNIQUÉ

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.

CONCLUSION

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 Royale Norwegian Embassy for considering them to benefit from such an important workshop.

 

Signed:

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)

 

Note: All the papers presented, workshop agenda, sign-in sheet, event photos are available. All these were not added to the report to reduce the volume.

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