By Femi Ogunshola
The House of Representatives has invited the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Ahmed over 2023 flood predications in the country.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary in Abuja on Wednesday.
Presenting the motion, Gbajabiamila, said there was need for NEMA to brief the House on measures taken to prevent flood disaster and manage socio-economic impact on the people in flood prone areas.
The motion is titled; “Need to Commence Active Measures to Mitigate the Probable Devastation of a Severe Flood Season and prepare Palliative Intervention to Prevent the worst Socio-Economic Consequences for Nigerians in the Affected Areas’’.
He said that a large portion of the country was prone to annual flooding which had been recurring in recent years.
According to him, the extent of the devastation of lives and property has been huge
Gbajabiamila said that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in January, released the seasonal climate prediction with a forecast of early onset of rain across the country and heavy rains throughout the season.
He said that the prediction of an early rainy fall had a come to pass, adding that there was every reason to expect the forecast of a heavy rainy season.
The lawmaker, however, expressed concerned that the 2023 annual flood outlook prepared by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency showed that 178 Local Government Areas in 32 states and the FCT fell within the highly probable flood risk areas.
He said that Nigeria had yet to recover from the 2022 flood which affected more than four million people, displaced over two million and caused the death of 665.
Gbajabiamila said that the flooding caused damaged to about 355,986 houses and homesteads as well as destroyed an estimated 944,989 hectares of farmland.
“With sufficient preparation and collaboration between the Federal and State Governments, Nigeria can mitigate the loss of lives and the socio-economic hardships caused by the recurring flooding,’’ he said.
The House urged the Federal Government to liaise with the relevant agencies to ensure the relocation of Nigerians from the flood-prone areas.
The House also said the federal government should ensure stockpile of sufficient temporary shelter materials, food and nutrition items as well as medicine to support people in flood-prone areas.
The House urged NEMA to encourage communication between the federal and the state governments to ensure effective collaboration to prevent flooding in the country.