House Calls for Multi-faceted Approach, Action Plan

Paschal Emeka, Abuja/November 14, 2022

The House of Representatives has directed its Committee on Legislative Agenda to organize a Technical Working Group between the Executive and Legislature, experts and stakeholders to formulate an Action Plan to prevent a repeat of the devastating flood and erosion disaster that ravaged some parts of the country in 2023 and beyond.

This is sequel to a motion of urgent public importance on the need for Strategic Planning and Funding to Prevent the Re-occurrence of Flood and Erosion Disasters in Nigeria In 2023 and beyond, by Hon. Henry Nwauba and Hon. Ibrahim A. Isiaka

They noted that “like most countries across the globe, what Nigeria is passing through on the devastating effects of flood, which are caused by a combination of factors such as heavy rains, heavy precipitation, severe winds over water, unusual high tides, tsunamis, failure of dam’s retention ponds and the impacts of climate change, which makes flood control and management a perennial challenge.

The two lawmakers further noted “that with each passing year, the impacts of flooding keeps getting worse, with damages to property, danger to lives of humans and other species, traffic delay, interference with drainage and economic use of lands, interference with farming, structural damages to bridge bank lines, sewer lines, and other structures within floodways.

“Waterways navigation and hydroelectric power have also been impaired leading to colossal financial losses in trillions of Naira.
“Disturbed that flood disaster has been identified as one of the fall outs of global climate change which we have all been collectively responsible for, the trend would continue and even go worse if we do not see the care of the environment as our individual and collective responsibility.

“The need to change our attitude towards the mother earth is of utmost concern if we really desire to put a check or control to these natural disasters that we are left to contend with.

“We have observed incident trends of late, amongst localities and even countries; it has become a very disturbing issue, the spate of flood risk exposure amongst vulnerable settlements and communities.

“Further disturbed that recent unpleasant experience in Nigeria could have been avoided or mitigated if we clearly identified and recognized the peculiarity of risk we are exposed to, based on our geographical positioning.

“Worried on how we pay deaf ears to the sound and presence of risks associated with flooding, one thing is clear that they will surely occur whether we plan for them or not.

The lawmakers observed that strategic planning and adequate funding will help mitigate the effects and facilitate quick and better recovery of lives, properties, economy and overall environment.

“With the public outcry of limited funds, reactive response should be changed to proactive response to increase effectiveness of management and reduce losses of life and properties.

They further note that as far back as January 2022, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) warned of impending floods across most states in Nigeria especially flood prone areas and could continue until the end of November 2022 in many states across the nation.

“Aware that in 2012, 32 out of 36 states were affected by flooding, with 363 people killed, over 2.1 Million people displaced, about 7 Million people affected and a total loss estimate of =N=2.6 Trillion recorded.

“Further aware that in 2022, 33 out of 36 states and the FCT are affected, that is 92% of the entire country, over 600 people killed. Over 1.4 Million people displaced and over 2.5Million people in need of humanitarian assistance with over 60% of this number being children.

“Concerned that Nigeria appears to be unready for climate change with ranking of 162 out of 180 countries in the environment performance index, and disturbed by the fact that the dimensional impact of this unfortunate situation are that we can expect a food crisis, Humanitarian crisis, Health crisis and revenue shortfall in Nigeria come 2023.

“Further disturbed that most of the affected states are agrarian economies which raise concern about impending food crisis, with 110,000 hectares of farmlands completely damaged, Olam rice farm submerged worth over S15M, 10 hectares of rice farm submerged in Kogi state.

They also expressed concern that transportation of food and other essential products such as petroleum products affected by the damaged roads and bridges and food inflation which is already record high (23.3%) as at early November will increase further.

“Currently a bag of 50Kg Rice cost about N48, 000, up by 48.8%, while a bag of maize used for animal feed is about N29,000, up by 93%; conscious that food inflation, which typically falls during the harvest season, has defied the trend this year, due to the compound effect of flooding and structural bottlenecks.

“More conscious that with Nigeria as the largest producer of Rice in Africa and the 14th highest in the world, largest producer of cassava in the world, largest producer of yam tubers, fifth largest producer of vegetables with 16.4Million tonnes, 11th largest producer of maize, third largest producer of groundnuts; third largest producer of sweet potatoes, second largest producer of sorghum and 12th largest producer of cotton stand to lose so much, if this flooding is left unchecked.

“Most conscious of the fact that the Producers of fast moving consumer goods in Nigeria such as NESTLE, CADBURY, Nigeria Brewery, Guinness, Livestock feeds etc depend on these agro products.

“Informed by the most recent announcement on Monday 7th November 2022 by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to the effect that the heavy downpour will re-occur next year 2023,

The House therefore, resolves to: mandate the committee on Legislative Agenda to coordinate a Technical Working Group between the Executive and Legislature as well as Industrial Experts and stakeholders to articulate an Action Plan to forestall a repeat of such flood and erosion disaster in 2023 and beyond.

The House also urge the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Office of the Accountant General`s Office of the Federation, to release immediately, a princely sum of N500 billion, into the already created Special Ecological Fund Account of each State of the Federation and F.C.T, to mitigate the effect of flooding that recently ravaged the entire nation.

The lower legislative chamber similarly urge the Federal Government to make an urgent request for Supplementary Budget from the National Assembly, the Sum of N100 billion or more, to Ecological Project Office (EPO) in the Presidency as Intervention Fund for Mitigation, Recovery and Relief Programmes across the nation.

The House farther mandates the House Committee on Appropriation to make provision of N200 billion only in the 2023 appropriation year, for the Ecological Project Office in the Presidency for: Flood Preparedness, Mitigation, Response, Recovery and Relief Packages, Mandates; the committee on legislative compliance to ensure compliance and report to the House within one week.

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