Flooding menace: TUC blames govt as Buhari okays food for vulnerable Nigerians
But for failure of government at all levels to put in place best control measures, the impact of the torrential rains that claimed hundreds of lives, farms, roads and properties worth billions of naira would not have been this devastating.
The above is the submission of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), which accused administrations at the three tiers of government of prioritising politics at the expense of governance.
The Labour centre said were warnings of floods by Meteorological Agency (NiMET), Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) elicited emergency responses, Nigerians would have mitigated the prevailing anguish.
The organisation, in a statement, yesterday, by its President, Festus Osifo, said the blame game by the Federal Government, stating that state governments allegedly ignored ministerial advisories is unhelpful at this time.
According to TUC, what the country needs is a synergy among the tiers of government to rescue the displaced by immediately providing relief materials and planning for post-flood diseases.
Noting that a country suffers in many ways when it fails to elect leaders driven by development, the union advised the government to dredge the River Niger to warehouse waters from Cameroun and Niger Republics.
While sympathising with the victims, TUC appealed to Corporate Nigeria to support the affected Nigerians. It urged the Federal Government to ensure that the release of waters from Kiri, Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams does not worsen the situation.
The Labour body equally appealed for a systematic flood prevention and control system to check a seasonal reoccurrence. TUC noted: “Dredging gives you so much tonnage of white sharp sand for construction and export.”
If that is done, it means we won’t insipidly and haplessly be begging our poor neighbours not to release their dams. When you dredge, there will automatically be a reasonable depth for river transportation and multiple wharfs in Lokoja and Onitsha.
“Apart from taking climate change seriously and working on meeting minimum international requirements to tackle it, government also needs to engage our neighbors on how flooding can be controlled.”
IN a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved release of 12,000 metric tonnes of assorted food commodities from the National Strategic Reserve to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for distribution to the vulnerable Nigerians across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, who made the disclosure at an event to mark the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in Abuja, added that the agency had begun delivering relief materials to flood victims nationwide. He pledged that the succour would reach all victims by this weekend at the most, as logistic challenges are being addressed.
On the fresh approval, Ahmed said NEMA had commenced transporting the items and would hand them over to the state governments for onward distribution to the affected Nigerians.
In her remarks, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said concerted efforts must be made to address flooding.
Represented by a director in the ministry, Alhaji Ali Grema, the minister observed: “As a matter of fact, the scale of devastation can only be compared to the 2012 floods. More than 500 lives have been lost, more than 1.4 million persons affected, about 90,000 homes either partially or completely destroyed and still counting.”