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FG alerts States on impending flood disaster, seeks relocation

IN a bid to curtail loss of lives and property, the federal government at the weekend appealed to Nigerians living along flood plains across the country to prepare for relocation to areas considered to be safe.

The Federal Ministry of Environment warned that coastal flooding resulting from sea level rise and tidal surges is likely to occur in Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states while massive rains are expected to cause river flooding in Niger, Sokoto Rima, Benue and Anambra states.

Also, flash flooding could be experienced in some urban locations such as Ibadan, Lagos, Sokoto, Birin Kebbi and other towns along the country’s coastlines.

The warning is coming on the heels of the House of Representatives demand that relevant government agencies take immediate steps to avert ‘massive flooding’ along River Benue and Lower River Niger.

The parliament also appealed to the state governments and other relevant stakeholders to take note of the 2015 seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), drawing their attention to the notice by the Cameroonian government of the impending release of excess water from Lagdo Dam between now and November.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede who disclosed this to newsmen at an emergency stakeholders’ meeting on 2015 flood in Abuja in Abuja, urged Nigerians to embark on clearing of drainages, culverts and canals in the areas of jurisdiction and remain at alert for any eventuality.

She recalled that Nigeria in 2012 experienced one of the most devastating floods in decades in which about 360 lives were lost and property worth billions of Naira also lost to the disaster.

According to her, the unfortunate incident cost government about N17billion distributed to various affected states and relevant MDA’s to tackle the disaster occasioned by that flooding.

Mede noted that the impending gradual release of excess water from the LAGDO Dam by Cameroon could take place anytime soon and that massive rains in the coming months poses serious threat to lives and property while states that are likely to be affected are Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Benue and Kogi.

She observed that government is deeply concerned about the likely loss of lives and property as well as other negative environmental consequences and advised that in extreme cases, state governments and local authorities should prepare to evacuate residents as well as designate and prepare public places for any eventuality.

Mede appealed to states, local governments, churches, mosques and traditional rulers to sensitize their people and communities and ensure that steps are taken to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property.

Meanwhile, adopting the prayers of a motion by Emmanuel Orker-Jev (APC, Benue), the House urged the Federal Government to consider the establishment of a joint commission with the Cameroonian government to manage the Lagdo Dam and River Benue waterways.

The House said the government should also ensure that the contract for the dredging of River Benue and Niger is awarded and constructed to mitigate the menace and effects floods around the area.

The lawmakers equally passed another motion urging the Federal Government to direct the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to commence rehabilitation of Festac Satellite towns to avert “looming epidemic” in the area.

Originally published in the Guardian Newspaper

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