The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has raised the alarm that there would be another devastating flooding in Nigeria next year if necessary precautions are not taken by government at all levels.
The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Mohammed, stated this Monday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties to defend his agency’s 2023 budget.
He lamented that early warnings given to the states in 2022 by NEMA were ignored, hence the devastating effects all over the affected areas.
He said: “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 were ignored.”
He told the senators that despite early warnings issued to state and local governments whose areas are flood-prone, none of them had taken any positive steps to guard against it.
He explained that the federal government had opened up the nation’s silos and had released 12,000 tonnes of grains already which were shared to all the 36 states of the federation
He noted that state governments needed to do more in disaster management instead of abandoning it to the federal government.
The DG said the National Assembly should help to inform the state early enough to avoid another devastating effects.
He said NEMA lacked adequate personnel to handle disaster management, adding that state governments should help. “We do not enjoy hazard allowance,” he added.
A member of the committee, Senator Lilian Ekwunife, expressed doubts over the possibility of the National Assembly to tell states and local governments to put arrangement that could prevent flooding in place.
She said: “The National Assembly is an independent institution that is not answerable to any states. 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 committee, chaired by Senator Yusuf Yusuf, challenged the people of the affected states to hold their governors accountable because it’s beyond the mandate and jurisdiction of the National Assembly.
The lawmakers also urged NEMA to make request for additional manpower through the head of service to the federation.
They also stressed the need to review the extant conditions of service of NEMA so that their staff could enjoy a special salary scale.
Another member of the panel, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, appealed to the states to use the huge financial resources at their disposal especially the ecological funds to address the environmental challenges confronting them.