By Chris Ochayi
The Federal government, weekend disclosed that it is currently reviewing the National Policy on Erosion Control and Flood that is all inclusive and in line with global best practices.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment FME, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, made the disclosure at the opening of a two-day workshop on flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness in Nigeria.
Mrs. Odusote stated that the policy which is aimed at the evolution of sustainable systems for managing flood, will involve the use of proactive tools such as Flood Risk Assessment FRA, Flood Risk Management Plan FRMP, and Community Based Flood Early Warning System CB-FEWS.
Odusote, who was represented by the Director, HRM, FME, Mr. Daniang Peter, said the policy is expected to focus on preventive measures involving watershed management in order to address deforestation in agriculture and infrastructure development.
She further noted that the policy will equally ensure the adoption of integrated control measures involving engineering and agronomic methods including channelization of flood water into reservoirs for agricultural purposes and ground water recharge.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that the impact of flooding on the socio-economic activity of the community members in all affected areas is always huge and destabilizing adding that government recognizes the need to urgently provide steps to address the negative impact on flood disaster and the attendant hardship on the citizens.
She therefore called on stakeholders to be alive to their responsibilities towards the prevention and management of floods, maintaining that more attention should be paid to preventive measures such as a holistic approach to watershed management.
“To ensure sustainability, the National Policy on Erosion Control will encourage participatory approach that will involve all stakeholders including community members and all relevant sectoral ministries as well as appropriate legal frameworks and funding mechanism”, Odusote said.
According to her, the 2012 and 2018 flood disasters which resulted in the deaths of about 363 Nigerians and the displacement of 3,871,500 people living within the River Niger basin, triggered policy shift in government agencies and especially the Federal Ministry of Environment.
In his goodwill message earlier, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, Director General of Nigerian Meteorological Agency NIMET, averred that even with the early warning tools issued annually and updated periodically by both Nimet and NIHSA, flooding has persisted over the years as the most devastating climate change phenomenon that has become worrisome to government at all levels and has caused immeasurable grief to many communities and families.
He however, opined that if the federal, state and local governments can allocate one percent of their annual budget to address climate change challenges, it would go a long way in the prevention, mitigation and preparedness against flood and other climate change issues.
In his remarks, the former Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, Air Vice Marshal Audu Bida, urged the government to always deploy experts in the management of flood to guide against colossal loses.