The Federal Government says the flood victims are obstinate and have refused to leave the flood prone areas.
The Federal Government has urged the Governor of Adamawa state, Murtala Nyako, to relocate the communities living in flood prone areas in state.
This is coming after floods affected about 15 Local Government areas in Adamawa state and led to the death of 19 persons, while rendering over 50,000 homeless.
A delegation comprising the Ministers of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe; Environment, Hadiza Mailafiya; and the Director general of the National Emergency management Agency (NEMA), Mohammed Sidi, visited the state to assess the extent of damage caused by waters released from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.
In the areas visited, the delegation identified various environmental hazards ranging from indiscriminate dumping of refuse to the springing up of new settlements in flood plains. This prompted the team to task both the state and local government officials to take seriously the “issue of compliance with environmental laws in a more formidable way”.
The delegation discovered that most of the submerged houses are “relatively new” and called for concerted efforts from the Ministry of Environment and Town Planning to halt the development.
Ms. Mailafiya decried situations where “land allocations are given to people to build in flood areas.”
The Chief of Staff to Mr. Nyako, Abba Jimeta, however laid the blame on the “obstinacy” of traditional land owners whom they accused of engaging in indiscriminate sale of lands located on flood plain.
Ms. Mailafiya maintained that the right to land should not be taken for granted as only the federal government has the prerogative over the use of any land in the federation. She stressed the need for compliance with environmental codes, and called on relevant agencies to stop the “obstinacy” of using lands in ways that adversely affects the society.
The ministers stressed the need for attitudinal change and the need for government to be formidable in the enforcement of environmental laws.
“Some of the habits and practices that we have gotten used to have to be changed,” Ms. Mailafiya said. “We have witnessed new layout and some of the houses we have seen that are submerged are relatively new.”
The delegates expressed the federal government’s regret over the loss of lives and said it will propose the creation of buffer dams to the federal government, so as to mitigate future damages in case more water is released from the Cameroonian dam.
They assured members of the affected community of federal government’s intervention in the situation.
The NEMA boss expressed shock at the extent of the devastation brought by the floods in the state. He put the number of deaths brought about by the disaster at 15, but said the number is not conclusive.
Mr. Sidi handed over relief materials to the Adamawa state government; which were received by the deputy governor, Bala Ngillari.
He said that the State Management Emergency Agency and NEMA are cooperating to send relief materials to all the centres where over 10,524 internally displaced persons are camped.