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Flood: states govts not doing enough – FG

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Flood: states govts not doing enough – FG
The Federal Government says not much is being done by the state governments to mitigate flood and save lives and property of citizens.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in separate interviews by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).

The organisations spoke on the sidelines of a training on the use of satellite data to better predict flood.

The training was backed by the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) under its Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) initiative.

It was conducted by the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education Consortium (CSSTE).

The Director-General NIHSA, Clement Nze speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the state governments had to play their parts in utilising data made available to them to prevent adverse effect of flood.

Nze who was responding to questions on why flood always claimed lives and properties in spite of early warnings by agencies of government, said the states had to play their part.

According to him, the agency and other relevant agencies of the Federal Government have the responsibility of forecasting rainfall patterns and possibility of flood and advising the states to take necessary action.

He said that NIHSA and other agencies of the Federal Government were in the off stream sector of weather related disasters while governments at the state should take responsibility in taking actions.

“Earlier this year, we were informed by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency about rainfall patterns, we took it up from there to talk about flooding in Nigeria,

“The minister personally wrote letters to all the 36 state governors and the FCT and each governor has been informed of the Local Government Areas in their states that are likely to be flooded in 2020.

“The governors were encouraged to take the prediction to the local areas and do the needful.

“The state governments have the machineries, they should have the political will to use it. They have the commissioner for environment, commissioner for water resources, State Emergency Management Agencies and town planners.

“They should not just be dormant, let them work within the confines of the regulations given to them, we cannot begin to visit the local government areas to remove structures on the floodplains.

“It is the duty of the host states, or in the case of the FCT, the minister, to go and remove structures in the floodplains,” he said.

He disclosed that in the FCT, the administration has already began demolition of houses that are along floodplains, noting that similar activities should be carried out in states to save lives.

He also stressed that to avoid demolitions, approvals should not have been given for the construction of such houses in the first place as data had already been available on areas that were prone to flood.

Buttressing the point, the Director-General of NiMET, Prof. Sani Mashi, said that state governments had not put in place adequate structures to mitigate against flood.

“We at the level of the Federal Government have been doing a lot to provide the information and forecasts needed for Nigerians to work with.

“But like you know, the society is divided into three levels, the Federal, the State and the Local Governments, we have been doing our part at the federal level.

“The place where we have a disconnect is largely at the level of the state and the local government,” he said.

He said that the arrangement was usually that whatever agency established at the federal level on environmental management and disaster prevention should be replicated at the states and local levels.

He decried that not much was happening at the state and local government levels in this regard.

“Each state is supposed to have State Emergency Management Agency and are supposed to have Local Government Emergency Management Committee.

“Out of the 774 local government areas at the last count, only 21 have emergency management committees.

“So, even if we release our forecast, those who are supposed to manage the forecast and advice the local people are not there and that is the big disconnect,” he said.

He said that the training on use of satellite to monitor and forecast flood would make the process more effective.

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