..initiates Flood emergency preparedness and response plan
Tuesday August 29, 2023
The Federal Government on Monday night confirmed that Cameroonian authorities have released water from Lagdo dam.
The Federal Government also said Nigerians will begin to feel the impact of the opened dams in the next seven days.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu stated these during a briefing which President Bola Tinubu directed after the first Federal Executive Council meeting.
To ensure proper coordination, the Minister said her ministry with others will be working with the office of the Vice President and the Nigeria Governors Forum to ensure proper mitigation of the likely impact of the floods.
The Minister urged State Governments and communities that may be affected by the flood to begin immediate evacuation of their family members and livestocks to plain areas.
She also hinted that the federal government will provide temporary shelter and other relief items to those that may be affected.
She said: “We are gathered on the instance of the President following a presentation which I made at the FEC today on the opening of the Cameroon Lagdo dam which has already been opened as we speak and it is expected that within the next seven days, we will begin to see the effect of that dam opening in Nigeria.
“Flood is gradually becoming a yearly or seasonal occurrence in Nigeria which has led to loss of lives and properties in large numbers.
“We as a government are always interested in preventing, mitigating and proffering solution including recovery plans for flood and its consequences.
“Presently now, we have a direct task by Mr. president to ensure proper preparedness for the consequences of the dam which has been opened in Cameroon and that is why this coordination meeting is being held tonight to help Nigeria adequately respond to it.
“A couple of States have been implicated and there have been ongoing engagements by NEMA with the state government but this will be carried out at higher level between the ministers, probably the Vice President and the state government; members of the Nigeria governors forum to ensure that they are part of the preparedness”.
On what is expected of states and communities that may be affected, Dr. Edu said: “One of the things the states and communities should do and even individuals is to begin to ensure that drainages are cleared and cleaned and whatever construction we have done on the drainages are quickly removed.
“Sensitization must also begin from the federal to the states, local government and communities. Everyone must be part of this engagement and sensitization.
“Persons and areas that will be affected by the flood must at this point begin to move to higher plains where their lives are protected. If they have livestock to move, they need to do that as soon as possible.”
“For the state governments, she said: “State governments must stand up to the responsibilities and task of involuntary evacuation of persons that will be affected by the flood. It is thinkable to lose properties but it is unthinkable and unacceptable to lose lives and that is what we want to avoid.
“Other measures would be put in place by the governments at all levels to ensure that we can prevent, mitigate and recover from whatever the consequences of this dam opening.”
On the humanitarian aspect and what the ministry intends to do, the minister said: “We know this situations pushes people down the poverty line, we will be working with other ministries and governmnets to ensure that humanitarian services including provision of food and other items that will be necessary are provided.
“Shelters, we are going to work with governments to provide temporary shelter for those that will be affected. We will offer support in terms of health, livelihood for recovery for those people that are moving”.
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev said aside opening the dam, there was need for attitudinal change by Nigerians.
He also said the government was considering the construction of dams.
He tasked the media to continue the sensitization process.
“We are looking at construction of dams and dredging of rivers. Recommenadations will be made available as we move forward. We will enlighten Nigerians on the level we are soon.
“Apart from the opening of the dam, we have other practices as Nigerians that has to be corrected. We are working as government under President Tinubu for the good of Nigerians. At our end, we are trying to find everlasting solution to flooding which affects humans lives and destroys properties.
“Our short term measure has started and we have been warned already that the dam is opened and at this point in time, it is under control but looking at climate condition and as rains continue to fall and the level of water increases in our rivers, flooding may definitely set in.
“We call on Nigerians at all levels to put in their best which includes clearing drainages, keeping their environment clean and government will do its part for total eradication of flooding”.
Minister of State, Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Goronyo said there was no need to panic.
He said: “As it is today, there is no much to fear or panic but we are taking proactive measures to ensure that such devasting effect does not occur in the soil of Nigeria. We will ensure the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians.
“We are assuring Nigerians that we will do everything possible with the support of the President to ensure that we take necessary steps to control this menace.
“We call on Nigerians in the danger zone to vacate and state government should come in to ensure that such people living in danger areas are evacuated immediately.”
Also speaking, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Ishaq Salako said his ministry was working to ensure that Nigerians are alerted hourly on the flood situations.
He said: “Flood early warning that is domiciled with my ministry is on and working and we are issuing hourly warning alerts on floods not only with respects to river Benue but in most part of the country including River Niger. We are warning people and to let them know the level of water in their area and level of vulnerability to flood.
“We are moving a little ahead to get correspondents covering environments to get the alerts directly. A platform is being created where the reporters will get the alerts without waiting for ministry officials to interface with them.
“From what we have seen today, it shows clearly that the administration of President Tinubu is strong on collaboration an going forward, we are going to see more collaboration. The president told us today that we are a team and he is just the captain of that team. We will ensure that in coming years, flood is minimized to the barest minimum.”