Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mustapha Mohammed has warned Nigerians of another looming devastating flood in Nigeria next year if proactive actions were not taken by government at all levels to avert the disaster. He said, “Let me also use this opportunity to prevail on the committee to intervene on our behalf. We have written to states several times. This flood is still coming in 2023. According to NEMA, early warnings given to the states in 2022 by were largely ignored that led to the devastating effects all over the affected areas. Speaking in Abuja when he appeared before the Senator Yusuf Yusuf, led Senate Committee on Special Duties to defend the 2023 budget, Mohammed said, “Let me also use this opportunity to prevail on the committee to intervene on our behalf. We have written to states several times. This flood is still coming in 2023.
“They must be advised early to set up SEMA and local emergency committee and fund them adequately. We gave similar warning last year but our advises were ignored.” Mohammed told the senators that despite early warnings issued to state and local governments whose areas are flood-proned, none of them had taken any positive steps to action against it. He however said that the Federal Government had opened up the nation’s silos and had released 12,000 tonnes of grains already which were shared to all the 36 states of the federation. The NEMA Director- General advised that State governments must do more and be proactive in disaster management instead of abandoning it to the federal government. He said that the National Assembly should help to inform the state early enough to avoid another devastating effects.
Mohammed also said that NEMA lacked adequate personnel to handle disaster management and that state governments should help, adding that they do not enjoy hazard allowance. In her remarks, a member of the committee, Senator Uche Ekwunife, expressed doubts over the possibility of the National Assembly to tell states and local governments to put arrangement that could prevent flooding in place. She said, “The National Assembly is an independent institution that is not answerable to any states. The states are also not answerable to us. We can only appeal to them but our constituents has a greater role to play by telling their state governments to act fast on the NEMA warning. At the end of the day, the Committee challenged the people of the affected states to hold their governors accountable because is is beyond the mandate and jurisdiction of the National Assembly. The Senators who urged NEMA to make request for additional manpower through the head of service to the president, stressed the need to review the extant conditions of service of NEMA so that their staff could enjoy a special salary scale. Also speaking, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, PDP, Osun appealed to the states to use the huge financial resources that is available to it especially the ecological funds to address the environmental challenges confronting them.