As Nigerians bemoan current flooding, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), yesterday, warned of worse flooding in 2023 if necessary precautions are not taken.
The Director-General, Mustapha Mohammed, gave the warning when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties to defend his agency’s 2023 budget. He lamented that early warnings given to states this year by NEMA were ignored.
His words: “Let me also use this opportunity to prevail on the committee to intervene on our behalf. We have written to states several times. This flood is still coming in 2023.
“They must be advised early to set up SEMA and local emergency committee and fund them adequately.
“We gave similar warning last year, but our advises (pieces of advice) were ignored.” Mohammed confirmed that the Federal Government had ordered distribution of 12,000 tonnes of grains to the 36 states, advising that state governments needed to do more in disaster management.
The NEMA boss, while charging the National Assembly to arouse states in this regard, observed that the agency lacked adequate personnel to manage disaster, hence, support of the states. He stated: “We do not enjoy hazard allowance.”
A member of the committee, Senator Lilian Ekwunife, doubted possibility of the federal legislature to instruct states and councils on the matter. She said:
“The National Assembly is an independent institution that is not answerable to any state. The states are also not answerable to us.
“We can only appeal to them, but our constituents have a greater role to play by telling their state governments to act fast on the NEMA warning.” The Senator Yusuf Yusuf-led committee challenged people of the affected states to hold their governors accountable, urging NEMA to make request for additional manpower through Head of Service of the Federation.
Another committee member, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, appealed to states to deploy the huge financial resources at their disposal, especially ecological funds, to address environmental challenges.