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Headline News Nigeria Special Report

Flood Disaster: Need to declare state of emergency, activate National emergency response

The flood that has ravaged numerous states in Nigeria and becomes worse over the past few weeks has reached alarming and national emergency levels.

It is described by many experts as the worst flood in Nigeria in recent history directly affecting and displacing more than 2 million people from their homes and resulting in more than 600 deaths.

The flood has brought the policy debate on the effect of climate change back to our National consciousness and the need for Nigeria and other developing countries to once more take the issue seriously.

It is therefore expected that as Presidential candidates of different political parties continue with their electioneering campaigns, citizens will like to know how they would address the issues of climate change and global warming as it directly affects them and their source of livelihood.

Several states across all regions of Nigeria are severely affected by the flood displacing millions of people from their shelters and damaging farmlands, places of worship, markets, and offices and disrupting social and economic activities.

In Northern parts of Nigeria states affected include Jigawa, Kogi, Niger, kano, Yobe, Borno, Kaduna, Kebbi and Sokoto states while in the South Bayelsa, Rivers, Anambra and Lagos are among the states affected.

Bayelsa states appear to be the most severely affected states with most of the LGA and all 3 universities and the University teaching hospital affected by the worst flood disaster in recent times.

This compel the Bayelsa state government to declare a state of emergency and asked all civil servants except those on essential duties to proceed on a one-week break due to the severity of the situation.

The Federal Government need to immediately declare a Nationwide state of emergency and activate all agencies of government involved in emergency response to be on the ground to provide humanitarian, social and medical services to all those affected. 

The President need to take control of all emergency responses from the Ministry of humanitarian affairs. He needs to immediately embark on an aerial assessment of the states affected by the flood and he needs to address the Nation after the assessment to reassure the Nigerian citizens especially those affected that the government is taking all necessary emergency measures in conjunction with the state governments to bring succour to those affected.

The enormity of the flood disaster has assumed a National emergency proportion and is beyond the capability of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian services to handle.

This is also not the time to be blaming state governors that it is their responsibility to prevent floods or cater for flood victims.

The President need to immediately take charge and set up an inter-ministerial and inter-agency committee which he should chair and provide immediate funding to provide food, temporary shelter and medical supplies to those affected.

Writing by Dr Bashir Mijinyawa Public Affairs Analyst; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino