The President, Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, directed the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, to lead and coordinate the Ministries of Environment and Transportation as well as state governments to develop a Comprehensive Plan of Action for preventing flood nationwide.
Buhari’s directive to the minister came barely one week after he ordered all federal agencies dealing with rescue and disaster management to offer all needed assistance to Bayelsa State where 700,000 persons have been displaced in about 300 communities submerged in water due to rains causing floods.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari’s directive, which was conveyed to the minister in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, said the plan should be presented to him in 90 days.
The statement was titled ‘Flood Prevention: President Buhari gives minister 90 days to produce a plan’.
On October 7, 2022, while meeting with state governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum at the State House, Abuja, Buhari directed the governors to meet with the Minister of Water Resources, who, he said, has “worked hard on dams and water resources in the country.”
Meanwhile, two firms donated relief items to the Bayelsa State government as the state battles ravaging floods.
The PUNCH reports that Azikel Group pledged N350m worth of food items to flood victims in the state, while United Nigeria Airlines provided succour to flood victims with bags of rice, cartons of noodles, and bottled water among others.
Reacting on Monday, when the President of Azikel Group, Dr Azibapu Eruani, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa, the state Governor, Douye Diri, urged corporate bodies and well-meaning individuals to take a cue from the company’s management.
Diri, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said, “You are the first person from our state to visit us at your level and capacity and that shows that you hold your people in your heart.”
Diri, who also spoke on the state’s airport road being threatened by the flood, said the government took some urgent steps to rehabilitate portions of the road linking the facility and that the United Nigeria Airlines resumed commercial flights on Monday.
He restated his call on the Federal Government to intervene in undertaking repair works on the portions of the East-West Road ravaged by the flood at both axes of border states—Rivers and Delta.
The PUNCH also reports that United Airlines’ donation to flood victims was presented to the state government by the Manager, Flight Operations, UNA, Captain Chimara Imediegwu, at the Bayelsa International Airport, Imediegwu commended the government and people of Bayelsa for what he described as their “never-giving-up spirit.”Meanwhile, Diri has announced the extension of the break for civil servants in the state by another week.
The governor had last Tuesday during a state broadcast announced an initial break of one week to cushion the effect of the floods on workers in the state.
The Bayelsa State Elders’ Council has called on Buhari to visit the state to personally assess the devastation of lives, livelihoods and property.
The chairman of the council, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.), made the call when the elders donated food items to the state government at the Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp at Ox-Bow Lake, Yenagoa, on Monday.
Jonah, a former Deputy Governor of the state, argued that in line with the National Disaster Management System, it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to take the lead role in response to the flood disaster rather than leaving the state to contend with it.
He warned that the situation was dire and had snowballed into a humanitarian crisis.
He said, “The Bayelsa State Elders’ Council is not comfortable with the attitude of several federal agencies who are engaged in buck-passing. Advising Bayelsans to move to higher grounds is an advice out of misunderstanding because there are no high grounds to go to in Bayelsa.
“The Federal Government should rather build flood shelters as it is done elsewhere to provide comfortable accommodation each time flood occurs.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association has called on the Federal Government to actively initiate measures to avert another flooding.
Speaking on Monday at a press conference to announce its 2022 National Physician Week, the association’s national president, Dr Uche Ojinma, urged governments at different levels to work together in helping victims recover quickly.
Ojinma, who was represented by the Lagos State NMA chairman, Dr Benjamin Olowobutu, explained that the 2022 Physician Week titled, ‘Nigeria’s Healthcare Delivery System and The 2023 Democratic Transition: A Time To Change The Narrative’ would hold its opening ceremony on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, with a conference and end on October 29, 2022.