Flood disaster and imperative of upgrading facilities in IDP camps

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NIGERIA is facing monumental humanitarian crises consequent upon the perennial flood disaster in many states of the federation. Though the flood menace is not a new phenomenon but this year’s case is showing forebodings to the extent that the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency [NIHSA] director general, Clement Onyeso has advised people in the states likely to be affected to be prepared to evacuate themselves and property to upland areas where the respective state governments are expected to upgrade facilities that would make life bearable as long as the flooding disaster would last.

  THE director general named the likely affected states as Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa. The agency has said that the water level in Niamey, the Niger Republic attained an unprecedented level of 7.02m [702ocm]. According to him, this is a far cry from the value of 6.60m which was reported in 2019.

  HE FURTHER warned that the current level sighted at Niamey poses a dangerous threat to Nigeria.

He said: “Based on the report of the expected flood coming down from Niamey and the projected contributions by the Island Rivers, both Kainji and Jenna dams built on River Niger have continued to spill water downstream. The Shiroro dam on River Kaduna with reservoir level of 381.48m as at last Thursday has been maintaining regulated spilling into River Niger”.

  IT IS very sad to note that this year’s flooding has been claiming lives and wrecking havoc on property all the country. In Lagos state, it was reported that two children were swept away by raging flood on Oyebanjo street Ketu-Alapere area of the state where the flood was gathering momentum.

  IT IS expected that both state and federal governments should not be waiting for the incidence of flood disaster in the states which have been experiencing the devastating menace all the year before scampering for the provision of basic facilities and amenities for the displaced persons. Since a permanent solution is yet to be found, there should be a permanent places upland in those states which should be equipped with b asic facilities since it a trite saying that the welfare rof the people is the primary responsibility of government. In other words, government should be proactive in taking measures aimed at mitigating the impending problems that come with the yearly devastating flood menace in the notorious states of the federation.

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  IN ADVANCED polities, the national and sub-national governments plan ahead so as to live up to the billings in mitigating environmental challenges and humanitarian crises because these are the lofty expectations of good governance.

  GOVERNMENT should be setting aside substantial budgetary allocation to address challenges that come with flooding menace and construct barricades in communities that adjoin riverine areas so that rainy season should not constitute great nightmares.

  IN ADDITION to upgrade of basic facilities at IDPs for flood victims, there is equally a crying need to upgrade basic facilities at the IDPs as a result of the rampaging herdsmen who wielding guns used in terrorizing communities, killing them and subsequently displacing them even as they forcefully took physical  occupation of the ancestral lands of the people.

  SINCE the humanitarian crises resulting from twin problems of perennial flood menace during rainy seasons and the unchecked rampages of the militant herdsmen by the security agencies, it is expected that IDPs should have been given generous provisions in the annual budgets of the federal government and state governments since a solution appears to be far-fetched.

READ MORE:  Flood disaster: Delta to dredge three rivers

  THE victims of these twin disasters of unimaginable proportions have been living in squalor and ghetto which the IDPs represent and have been unrelenting in their wailings to draw the attention of government to provide with basic amenities like water for drinking and sanitation and sundry utility.

THESE hapless victims of circumstance have been suffering from severe malnutrition because of severe lack of food and medical facilities.

  THE most agonizing is that the children are no longer going to school and the consequence of the lacuna is better imagined than expressed. It has been expected at this time that government should have designed measures to take adequate care of the needs of the IDPs and make them to realize that their plight touches the heart of government.

  WHAT the government and NGOs give to the IDPs could be said to be tokenism because what they need is a properly planned provisions since they are victims of absence of good governance in the country. In sane and civilized polities, governments do not need to be told that such unfortunate victims of natural disasters or terrorists invasion of their ancestral homes to accord top priority to the basic needs of the victims to reassure them that it is the responsibility of government to take care of the welfare of the governed.

THE director general of NIHSA  in a somewhat distress call for a lasting solution to the perennial humanitarian crises had appealed to state government and local governments, multi-national companies and public spirit individuals and philanthropists to aid the agency conduct researches on how to tackle flooding instead of waiting to rehabilitate victims.

READ MORE:  Flood disaster: Delta to dredge three rivers

  NATIONAL LIGHT wish to urge the federal and sub-national governments to have a broader perception of the seriousness of the humanitarian crises taking cognizance of the covid-19 pandemic and calls for a pragmatic and definitive measures backed with sufficient annual budgetary allocations to provide the necessities of the IDPs.

  TIME for adhoc measures by governments to ameliorate the adverse conditions in the IDPs habouring victims of flood disaster and herdsmen impunity is over since the primary responsibility of government remains the ultimate weal and welfare of the people going by the political scientist’s realistic and time-honoured theory of “Social Contract”.

  APART from the provision of the needed basic amenities in the IDPs, efforts should be intensified to resettle the displaced people back to their ancestral lands and drive away the invaders which the federal government has affirmed that they are not indigenes of the country.

  ACCORDING to the distressful narratives of the displaced persons from Plateau state who have been languishing in makeshift refugee camps as reported by the February 8, 2020 edition of Saturday Vanguard, the foreign herdsmen have started building houses in their lands as if it has become their permanent  abode even as the security agencies appear to have looking askance. A community leader, Da Gyang Dahoro put it succinctly thus: “Right now, strangers that we don’t know are building on our land, some of them cannot speak Hausa language, government was expected to look into this, for instance, Janda 1 and 2 have been demolished, even the traditional ruler of Janda is here in Riyom, they have taken over his house, and they built on his foundation”.           

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