ActionAid Nigeria, an anti-poverty agency committed to social justice, has commended the federal government’s announcement of the release of N1.6 billion ecological fund to 16 states ravaged by flood across the country.
The non-governmental organisation, stated in a press release that “this is a welcome development, especially now that the people, especially the poor are struggling to cope with economic challenges as a result of the state of the economy.”
This intervention, according to the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ojobo Atuluku, “will lessen the additional burden and pressure placed on the people as a result of the flood incidences.”
The organisation however stated that while this intervention is commendable, some of the incidences that have put a lot of the citizens, especially the poor in misery should have been avoided.
“It is sad that despite its predictability, Nigeria put nothing in place to reduce the risk of the flood disaster, even with the forecast of floods by its own Metrological Agency the Nigeria Metrological Agency – NIMET”, stated ActionAid.
Mr. Atuluku, observing that this would not be the first of such intervention by the federal government lamented that “12 billion naira previously invested by the federal government in 2012 did not yielded visible results.”
While noting that “up till today, no state has rendered account on how that money was spent; no known report on the impact of that federal government intervention”, the ActionAid Country Director noted that in spite of previous investment and intervention by the federal government, “the most affected populations are still left unattended to”.
In order to ensure that the new fund is judiciously used and does not end up in the corruption net, Ms. Atuluku advised that the release of the N1.6 billion ecological fund is accompanied by a transparent accountability framework.
“We want to see how this fund will be managed to achieve maximum impact and to the utmost support of the affected people.
“ActionAid Nigeria recognises that transparent accountability in emergencies is multi-levelled; and at any level should target primacy of saving life and reducing human suffering and doing these with respect for human dignity of affected population”, Ms. Atuluku said.
She advised that the federal government should ensure that recipient states exhibit commitment to transparent accountability in emergency management, before the fund is released to them.
“We call on the federal government to restrain itself from releasing the fund to any of the states until they present with clarity, proposals and plans how the fund will be utilised.”
Each of the states, she said, should be made to demonstrate “how they will involve the affected people and communities especially women; what Early Warning and Early Response (Early Action) Mechanism they will put in place to forestall future re-occurrence; the framework they will put in place to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels – state, local government and community using knowledge, skills, innovation and education.”
The requirement, she further stated, must include plans for “strengthening disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels; what will be done immediately to support those affected, especially the poor, who have been displaced and lost their means of livelihoods and; what the states have invested in terms of capacity, materials/equipment, and resources/fund to make their state emergency management agencies efficiently and effectively functional.”