The declaration of a national emergency in the country would put stakeholders in disaster management on the alert.
The Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has called on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency to prevent a re-occurrence of the flood disasters in many states of the country in 2012.
Mr. Uduaghan made the call in a keynote address presented at a stakeholder’s consultative forum on flood mitigation, prevention and preparedness for 2013 in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the declaration of a national emergency in the country would put stakeholders in disaster management on the alert in the event of flood related incidences.
“The reality of today demands that we declare a national emergency in the management of flood in the country; everyone should be placed on war footing. To reduce the level of devastation that we saw last year, there is a need for fast track construction of more dams and dredging of the Niger. Hopefully we should resolve all technical issues involved in dredging the Niger quickly, we should enhance our shore protection, amongst other remedial steps that should be taken,’’ he said.
He said there was urgent need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to heed to the early warnings of the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) prediction on the 2013 rainy season by taking steps to prevent disasters.
Mr. Uduaghan said that 14 of the 25 Local Government Areas of Delta were almost submerged during the 2012 floods. He said the state had embarked on the prevention of a reoccurrence by removing all illegal structures, especially those blocking the water channels.
The governor said that his administration had also embarked on the massive construction of drains and streams across the state.
“Given our clear understanding of climate change and its peril, we are embarking on the construction of permanent rehabilitation camps in different parts of the state,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Environment, Hadiza Mailafia, advocated for punitive measures to be taken against individuals and group, who violated environmental laws. She said Nigerians should learn to respect and protect the environment. The minister urged leaders at all levels to take proactive steps to protect their environment against human and natural disasters.
She said that NEIMET’s rainy season prediction for 2013 was a call to action on the parts of leaders and individuals.
Earlier, the Director-General National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, said the reoccurring floods and the attendant hazards should serve as a wake-up call for emergency managers.
Mr. Sani-Sidi stressed the need for stakeholders in the disaster management to re-strategise and foster stronger collaboration on the principles and effective disaster management.
“Despite the competing demands of NEMA stakeholders, we must work together to protect and improve the lives of vulnerable citizens as well as enhance their resilience,” he said.
He urged participants at the forum to provide effective mechanism that would aid stakeholders at state, local government and community levels to mitigate and respond to the 2013 anticipated floods and secondary hazards whenever the need arose.