Flood Disaster Avoidable But Not Avoided, FENRAD Laments

Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, an environmental rights advocacy group has decried the damage and disaster occasioned by the recent flood sacking communities and displacing persons in Nigeria.

FENRAD in a release by it’s Executive Director, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, recalled that prior flood alerts through various relevant authorities were unheeded. For example, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet; Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency, NHSA all predicted a likely change in rainfall pattern that could result in flash flood. It is lamentable how the same predicted flood met Nigeria unprepared.

According to him, FENRAD does not only represent failure of intervention mechanism and framework but environmental indiscipline. With ministries like those of environment, humanitarian affairs disaster control, water resources and agriculture, it leaves much to be desired the type of environmental regime Nigeria runs. Same goes to subnational governments with various ministries and agencies too.

“So far, over 500 persons had lost their lives to flood disaster, 1.5 million others displaced with houses, properties, farmlands including businesses lost. There was no contingency plan for resettlement and evacuation of at-risk riverine and other communities in a foretold event with a predicted outcome.

“It is worthy of mention that since 1980s when Cameroon began building her Lagdo Dam, Nigeria agreed to build a dam twice the size of that of Cameroon to help collect released water from Cameroonian dam. Today, unable to complete her own dams after decades, Nigerian states like Adamawa, Taraba, Borno and others remain vulnerable to dangers of flood. Again, FENRAD condemns this poor policy approach and seeks to understand whether Nigeria is still alive to her role and duty to her citizens.

“The recent flood disaster pictures seen in Anambara where a boat mishap took over 170 lives left many worrying. Communities have been submerged in Kogi, including a 600-hectare farmland of rice. Social and economic activities have been halted in affected areas. A release from NEMA said over two hundred communities are at risk, the scenario is a thing to worry about given how Nigeria have never lifted a finger for herself since 2012 when through climate change and other factors, flood of a huge magnitude sacked settled spaces. FENRAD calls on relevant stakeholders, from ministries, agencies to departments to interface and possibly create pre-emptive flood regime. With ecological fund and other funds set aside for mitigation, addressing the challenge should not be much of an issue. Nigeria should engage Cameroonian authorities and work out a bilateral agreement that tackles the challenge. If there are groups working on lakes as seen elsewhere in Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon can work closely on disaster management.

“Our heart goes out to the victims of the recent flood disaster. FENRAD calls on the relevant authorities to scale up mitigation framework and roll out actions to address the menace that is not letting up” the statement concluded.

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