From Fred Itua, Abuja
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has called on states across the Federation to take proactive measures to mitigate against flooding.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that recent reports show that as many as 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states face the risk of flooding due to inadequate town-planning, construction oversights and obstructed drainage systems.
“We have to take this issue of flooding very seriously. God has blessed Nigeria in so many ways. We are not like many other nations that experience cataclysmic natural disasters that leave considerable destruction,” he said.
“This issue of flooding is something that with proper planning and proactive steps, we can minimize and mitigate against the loss of lives and damage to property. What we need to do is for all stakeholders, by this I mean governments across all levels, town planning councils and our emergency management agencies to meet to discuss how we can put in place long-term strategies to stop these floods so that we can end this fire-brigade approach of dealing with crisis situation,” he added.
The senate president also listed some immediate steps that states across the Federation need to take to reduce flooding.
He said: “Our state governments need to work with town-planners to identify areas that are at risk for flooding. Additionally, we need to immediately put in place both sensitization and punitive measures to ensure that people are not blocking our drainage systems. When these drainage systems are blocked, especially in urban centers, the water begins to accumulate during heavy rains.
Saraki called for a comprehensive re-evaluation of the nation’s dams while adding that this re-evaluation by experts would allow the country to know which of our dams, specifically those that are located close to residential areas are channeling water into towns.
“Right now, we cannot leave any stone unturned,” he said, “We must immediately look into our own man-made structures. We have to identify which of our dams and other infrastructure are contributing to the frequency of flood and work out strategies to tone down their negative impact.
“The senate, through our oversight powers, will continue to work to ensure that our town planning laws are updated, and we will continue to support the executive in every way possible to enforce the codes and ensure that states that are at risk do not turn into disaster zones,” Saraki stated.