By Salisu Sani-Idris
President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday directed an immediate plan of action to stem the tide of impending flooding across the country.
Mr Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice President, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
“To this effect, he (Tinubu) has appointed Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi as the Chairman of a committee to produce a road map to harmonise the recent National Economic Council (NEC) report on flood.
“And the 2022 National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan as well as all other national reports on flood.
“The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen. Akon Eyakenyi, will serve as the Vice Chairman of the committee which is expected to submit its recommendations in seven days.”
Nkwocha said during an emergency meeting presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the president gave marching orders to the committee for an action plan on all the reports.
Shettima said it was best to be proactive than to be reactive.
“Based on the submissions by the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) , the situation is not that terrible but to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
“The submissions by the other relevant stakeholders are equally poignant and we can’t afford to take chances.
“Though the situation is not as bad as we might think, we need to set up a committee so that the report of the Presidential Committee and the 2022 Federal Executive Council – approved broad preparedness plan should be harmonised and implemented immediately.”
Shettima noted that a feasible roadmap would address the flood crisis in Nigeria, adding that responsibilities would be shouldered by the North East Development Commission (NEDC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Federal Government.
“I deliberately invited the NEDC and NDDC so that with whatever resources that NEMA has, they have to be released to the states so that they can start making preparations for any eventuality.
“Based on the Presidential directive, I will meet with the Chief Executives of the NEDC and NDDC for states that are under their coverage. There should be interventions from them.
“For NEDC they can take care of Taraba, Bauchi and Adamawa states. For NDDC, they can take care of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Cross River states.”
Shettima said that for states like Ebonyi, Kogi and Benue states, government would mobilise from its savings and deploy same to assist them.
“We have to share responsibilities and hence the immediate need for the roadmap to be implemented,” he stated.
The Chief Executives of NiMet, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), National Water Resources Institute, NEMA and NiHSA, all made presentations with reactions from Governors of Bauchi, Kogi, Ebonyi and Cross River States.
Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa State Governors were represented by their deputies.
Other members of the committee included Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo; Minister of State for Environment, Kunle Salako; Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Goronyo; Chief Executives of NEMA, NIWA and NiHSA, among others.
The Special Adviser to the President on NEC and Climate Change, Rukaiya El-Rufai, will serve as Secretary of the committee. (NAN)