After over seven years in office, President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked his ministers to “develop a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disasters in Nigeria.”
Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the president “directed the Minister of Water Resources to lead and coordinate with the Ministries of Environment and Transportation as well as state governments to develop” the plan.
Many Nigerian states experience flooding annually during the rainy season. This year’s floods, said to be the worst since 2012, have caused the death of over 600 people and the displacement of over a million others.
The floods are caused by human and climatic factors, with climate change contributing to inadequate infrastructure and the failure of governments to heed early warnings such as that by the meteorological agency, NiMet.
A PREMIUM TIMES editorial Monday called on the government to be more proactive in dealing with the annual floods.
“Confronting each flooding nightmare with the same knee-jerk reactions will not take the country far in mitigating its effects,” the editorial stated.
In his statement, released hours after the editorial was published, Mr Shehu said the president’s directive was conveyed to the minister in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari. The president said the plan should be presented to him in 90 days; which would leave him less than five months to implement any recommendations before he leaves office in May 2023.
“President Buhari is regularly receiving updates on the flooding situation in the country and restates his commitment towards addressing the challenges caused by the disaster in the country,” Mr Shehu wrote.
Over two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states have so far been affected by the floods. Some of the states most affected include Benue, Kogi, Bayelsa, Delta and Kano.