President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday directed an immediate plan of action to stem the tide of impending flooding across the country.
Stanley Nkwocha, the senior special assistant to the president on media and communications, office of the vice-president, announced this in a statement.
“To this effect, he (Tinubu) has appointed Governor 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,” said the statement.
It added, “The deputy governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, will serve as the vice-chairman of the committee which is expected to submit its recommendations in seven days.”
Mr 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.
“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,” Mr Shettima explained.
The vice-president added, “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.”
Mr 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,” the vice-president explained.
“For NEDC,” he noted, “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.”
Mr Shettima said that for states like Ebonyi, Kogi and Benue states, the government would mobilise from its savings and deploy the same to assist them.
“We have to share responsibilities and hence the immediate need for the roadmap to be implemented,” he stated.