The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has called on state governments to take proactive measures to minimize the risk of flooding in their areas.
Saraki made the call in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that recent reports showed that as many as 30 states out of the 36 in the country were at risk of being affected by flooding this year due to poor town-planning.
Saraki, therefore, urged the various governments to take responsibility of ensuring the safety of their communities, adding that the authorities must ensure that strict measures were taken to stop disruption of drainages.
“We have to take this issue of flooding very seriously. God has blessed Nigeria in so many ways. We are not like many other nations that experience cataclysmic natural disasters that leave considerable destruction.
“This issue of flooding is something that with proper planning and proactive steps, we can minimize to prevent the loss of lives and damage to property.
“What we need to do is for all stakeholders, including governments at all levels, town planning councils and our emergency management agencies to meet.
“They ought to meet and discuss how we can put in place long-term strategies to stop flooding so that we can end this fire-brigade approach of dealing with crisis situation,’’ he said.
He said “our state governments need to work with town planners to identify areas that are at risk for flooding.
“ Additionally, we need to immediately put in place sensitization and punitive measures to ensure that people are not blocking our drainages.
“When these drainages are blocked, especially in urban centres, the water begins to accumulate during heavy raining season.’’
Saraki also called for comprehensive re-evaluation of the nation’s dams, explaining that such field study would allow the country to know the dams, specifically those located close to residential areas, channelling water into towns.
“Right now, we cannot leave any stone unturned. We must immediately look into our own man-made structures.
“We have to identify which of our dams and other infrastructure that are contributing to the frequency of flood and work out strategies to tone down their negative impact.
“The Senate, through our oversight powers, will continue to work to ensure that our town planning laws are updated.
“We will continue to support the executive in every way possible to enforce the codes and ensure that states that are at risk do not turn into disaster zones,’’ he said.