The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja inaugurated a high-level committee for the development of National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to effectively tackle flooding across the country.
Speaking at the inauguration, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said that the establishment of the committee was necessitated by reports from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the multi-sectoral nature of disasters in general.
“It is therefore, pertinent that we are all here to develop a National Multi-Sectoral and Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan towards disaster risk reduction of flooding hazards in the country.
“Since February 2020, the ministry had played a vital role in monitoring floods and calling stakeholders for action in response to the 2020 seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).
“I have attended several meetings at the National Economic Council, chaired by the Vice President with all state governors in attendance to provide high level sensitisation and advocacy.
“The key messages were the need to mitigate root causes of flooding and to provide structural and nonstructural measures including town planning, infrastructure design, temporary resettlement and relocation of vulnerable communities and dam management.
“Hence, the overall objective of today’s meeting is to activate efforts towards developing a National Multi-sectoral and Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
“It also serves as an inaugural meeting for the High-Level Committee to which you are all members,” Farouq said.
According to her, the committee will set and approve realistic timelines to develop the new plan and receive briefing on the efforts by the various stakeholders.
The stakeholders in the committee include representatives of Ministry of Water Resources, NEMA, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Environment, NiMET, NAN, NTA, FRCN and among others.
Also speaking the Director-General of Nigeria Hydrological Services (NIHSA), Mr Clement Nze, said that the agency had come up with Annual Flood Outlook to ensure that all stakeholders were informed on the issues relating to flooding.
Nze identified coastal, urban and iiver flooding as responsible for the floods in all parts of the country.
He said flooding in other African countries like Republic of Niger, Burkina faso, Cameroon and others usually affect Nigeria’s waters that also result to flooding in the coastal and riverine areas in Nigeria.
“The middle and southern parts of Nigeria are yet to get out of flooding. However, we will ensure that the root cause of flooding is address”.
Similarly, the Director-General of NiMET, Prof. Sani Abubarkar, represented by his Technical Assistant, Prof. Mansur Bako-Matazu, said it was cheaper to provide early warning than do the needful after disaster has struck.
In the same vein, the Director-General of NEMA, Mohammed Alhaji, said that so far, no fewer than 77,520 farm lands had been affected by flood and 129,200 persons displaced from their homes.
Alhaji also said that NEMA was currently partnering with 64 military units across the country in the event of emergencies, adding that the relationship was excellent.
Stakeholders present at the event included officials from Ministries of Health, Interior, Environment, Water Resources, Water Resources Institute, NAN, NTA, FRCN, NIHSA among others.