The federal government, on Thursday in Abuja, inaugurated the Presidential Committee for the Development of a Comprehensive Plan of Action for preventing flood disasters in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, to fashion out ways of preventing flood disasters in Nigeria within 90 days.
Mr. Adamu said it was no longer news that the recent 2022 floods had thrown several communities into hardship, submerged homes, and destroyed properties estimated at billions of naira.
He noted that flooding incidents in Nigeria had been caused mainly by the overflow of silted rivers and poor drainage systems from localised rainfalls, generating flash flooding in urban areas.
“Members of the presidential committee being inaugurated today are seasoned professionals and bureaucrats who have been selected from across the MDAs, states, and professional organisations.
“You have been adjudged to have, in one way or the other, contributed immensely to the water resources, environmental, agricultural, and other sectors of the country.
“I urge you to consider your nomination into this committee as a privilege and another opportunity to serve and contribute toward safeguarding the lives and wellbeing of our people who may be affected by floods in the future,” he said.
Anambra State Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim, said that his state had suffered huge losses from the 2022 floods, as they affected one-third of its local government areas.
He said the state government was deliberating on using excess water from flooding for hydropower generation, saying that the setting up of the committee was timely.
Minister of Environment, Dr. Hassan Abdullahi, said that human activities had caused flooding, saying there was a need for states to adhere to early warning signals.
He also urged states to strictly enforce building approvals so as to end the indiscriminate practice of building on flood plains.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the impact of climate change on humans and the environment had been predicted to get worse in the coming years, following the rise in global temperature.
He said that the impact of flooding on the health sector could increase water-borne diseases, saying the committee must proffer solutions toward health promotion and disease prevention.
The steering committee members included: Ministers of Health, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Transport, Works and Housing, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development as well as their respective permanent secretaries.
Others were: representatives of the Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Ogun, Bayelsa, and Kogi state governments.
The Technical Working Group included: the Directors-General of the National Water Resources Institute, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, representatives of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, and the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, among others.