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Published On: Wed, Oct 22nd, 2014

Addressing flooding, conflicts and public awareness

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Globally, the devastating effects of flooding occasioned by excessive rainfall has become a serious threat to human existence. This is because the yearly increase in rainfall pattern especially last year, sacked many communities in various parts of the world. In fact, a large number of farm lands and live stocks of the affected communities

wipe out by the torrential rains, thereby forcing the inhabitants to become destitute.

Apparently, Nigeria’s recent experience was not farfetched—inadequate preparations on the part of the concerned authorities to contain the floods, even as the country was pronounced to have experienced its worst hit of overflow in year 2012, an occurrence that should have serve as a wakeup call to government and other stakeholders in relevant sectors.

Consequently, expert views had linked the sudden increment of rainfalls in the country to climate change which results to global warming. They said the gravity of the occurrences necessitated various interventions by governments, non-governmental organization (NGOs) and individuals to mitigate its effects.

Meanwhile, the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) reported that scientists were more than 90% certain that global warming is caused by increasing concentration of greenhouse gases produced by human activities. They said human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle which in turn result into increased rainfall and its attendant flooding.

However, in a bid to save the country from further embarrassment resulting from devastating effects of climate change, Nigerian government has remained proactive in evolving ways of dealing with the attendant climate change effects .

To mitigate these effects, the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has constituted a Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation with foremost industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote as its chairman. The terms of reference of the Presidential Committee include; assessment of level of damage by flooding, ascertain number of displaced persons and most importantly provide succor to victims of flooding across Nigeria in both foods and non-foods materials.

The Presidential Committee led by the renown business mogul will also oversee fund raising using his influence to convince well-meaning Nigerians to donate to relief fund to execute projects meant to rehabilitate victims and re-integrated them back into the mainstream of socio-economic sphere of the country.

In order to nip it in the bud and compliment the mandate of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, having realised that Nigeria may witness lesser rainfall in the year 2014, as forecast by Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET), the African leading business man set up an 11-Man Relief Implementation Team. The team is extending the tentacle of operations of the larger Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation with special focus on recent ethno-religious and communal conflict in 24 states of the country.

The reason for the 11-Man Relief Implementation Committee is to help people in need in the aftermath of communal conflicts mainly in about 24 States of the federation. The role is in addition to the Dangote-led Presidential Committee’s achievements in providing succor to mitigate effects of flooding. The committee will also cover internally disputed persons occasioned by spate of crises across the country. This intervention will afford Nigerians to feel impacts of Dangote-led Presidential Committee beyond flooding through Relief Implementation Team.

The 11-Man Relief Implementation Team set up by Dangote-led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation is headed by Mr. Tunde Lemo, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Other members of the team include: Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, Hon. Uche Ekunife, Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alh. Sani Sidi, Mr. Dauoda O. Toure, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, Federal Refugee Commission, Hajia Hadiza Kangiwa, Mr. Robert Odiachi, Representative of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Umar Farouk, Mr. John Kennedy Okpara, Dr. Sani Luga and Mrs. Nkechi Mba (NCWS).

The Lemo-led Implementation Team is charged with the responsibility to fast-track decisions and policies taken by the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to provide relief materials to Nigerians affected by recent crises across the country. Many applauded the inclusion of the Director-General NOA, a critical stakeholder who offers an added advantage to the activities of the Relief Implementation Team beyond provision of materials of foods and non-foods to the victims. This advantage can be seen from the angle that the Agency (NOA) under watch deploys assets to help forestall future ethno-religious and communal clashes in terms of leveraging of his agency that boasts robust platforms and presence in and around all communities in Nigeria.

Omeri said the NOA will continue to create awareness in both fronts of the activities of the larger Dangote led Presidential Committee on Flood Relief as well as Lemo-led Relief Implementation Team. “The massive structure of the Agency (NOA) will help sensitize and create awareness around Nigerians, unhealthy practice of refuse disposal

which results in blockage of water ways and eventually leads to flooding”.

Recently, the Agency has been working assiduously with its partners like NEMA and NESREA to pull resources and experience together to educate all Nigerians on the various human activities that results in climate change, which has undoubtedly remained the greatest contributors to global warming.

The NOA has also sought collaboration of other stakeholders prior to the launch of “Word Waste Bin”, an interactive bin that is expected to change citizens’ attitude towards refuse disposal. With this in control, waterways can be eased from refuse dump to avoid excessive flooding.

Similarly¸ on the area of internally displaced persons occasioned by communal violence, the NOA has embarked on an initiative tagged: “Peace Advocacy Campaign” with the intent to engage all stakeholders towards bringing a lasting end to the conflicts threatening our various communities. These interactive and town hall engagements have been held in flash points of Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States, while sustained campaign in that regard is expected to continue. Largely, this means that the DG NOA doubles as both Presidential Committee and Relief Implementation Team member as well as an essential agent to instill new set of values in Nigerians to avert future occurrences of both flooding and communal conflicts.

 

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