By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has urged the Federal Government to ensure that proactive measures are taken to check any reoccurrence of flood disaster that wreaked havoc last year in many states across the country
The party said its attention was drawn to media reports about the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET)’s 2013 rainfall prediction, which it presented to the public over the weekend in Abuja.
According to the agency’s Director General, Dr Anthony Anuforom, this year’s rainfall pattern would not be different from what the country witnessed last year.
NIMET specifically mentioned that the annual rainfall is expected to be above normal in comparison to 2012 in the northern areas of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Zamfara States and environs.
“While we commend NIMET for introducing zonal seasonal rainfall prediction in order to reach the grassroots, we maintain that this warning should not be taken lightly by the States and Federal Government.
“Fresh in our memory is last year’s unrelenting and havoc-wreaking floods in several parts of the nation, and the fact that experts averred that we suffered more gruesome impacts because the government did not react to early warnings in good time.
"The nation watched in shock as homesteads and farmlands were swept away. We also witnessed the flooding which was brought about as a result of sudden release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam by the Cameroonian authorities, which displaced over 100 communities in 13 local government areas, rendered more than 10,000 people homeless and killed about 16 persons. In all, the flooding emergencies were more destructive because the government’s response was only reactive and neither visionary nor proactive.
"Our great party is concerned because floods pose a threat to the nation’s food security, and also has a potential to cause general angst on our farmers, and therefore engender a renewed rural-to-urban area migration, unemployment, insecurity and general depression. It is a globally accepted truth that climate change will worsen environmental disasters and therefore nations are concentrating on mitigation and adaptation strategies in order to curb the impacts. Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.
"We therefore call on the Federal Government to do all in its power to avert a repetition of the flooding disasters that befell our nation last year.
"This is the time to construct more buffer dams as a matter of urgency, and to create a sustainable water disposal infrastructure, not only in the affected states, but in all the states of the Federation as climate change has instituted an unpredictable weather regime. As a party, we believe that our dear nation has the human and natural endowments to effectively fight environmental disasters; all that is needed is a visionary leadership," he said.