Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State says one-third of the state has been submerged by flood, turning the already “bad situation” of the state as the “erosion capital of Nigeria” to “worse”.
“The fundamental thing for us is not so much the ravage of this flood. It has made a bad situation worse for us in Anambra. Environment is Anambra’s number one existing threat. Anambra is the gully erosion capital of Nigeria with about 30% of our lands under threat by gully erosion,” the governor said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.
He said his government has been “cleaning up drainages just to let water get to the river but now water from the rivers now overwhelm one-third of the state, even a little more than one-third of the state”.
In order to prevent future flooding, according to Soludo, Nigeria must have a national emergency conversation.
“What is the nation doing to prepare for the next one because we know that it will happen again and again? It has been happening, Cameroon will soon open the dam in the next one or two years. What is the national plan to deal with the next one? Whether we are going to build dams, embankments along the banks of the rivers. I think as a nation, we need a national emergency conversation,” he stated.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), flooding induced by recent torrential rainfall has ravaged portions of Nigeria during the past two months, affecting about 2.5 million people and killing over 603 people.
Houses and farmlands have been submerged in Lagos, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Imo, Abia States, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Despite the fact that NEMA has been carrying out its duties in the state in tandem with the state government, Soludo claimed that NEMA’s response is “too little” and “too late.” President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed emergency responders to give relief supplies to flood victims.
According to him, the National Assembly needs to take decisive action against floods, which has turned into a recurring catastrophe for the nation.
The President referred to the floods in some areas of the nation on August 23, 2022, as a state emergency rather than a national catastrophe.
“Each of the three tiers, the local government, the state government and the federal government has a sizeable budget at its disposal, allocated monthly precisely for dealing with these state-level natural emergencies, as well as federal agencies dedicated to doing the same,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu stated.
In contrast, Soludo called the Ecological Fund paid to Anambra by the Federal Government a “peanut” that can’t even cover for a single bridge that is washed away by floods when responding to Shehu’s statement on Tuesday.
“I would have ask him (Shehu) what this allocation is for dealing with this kind of ravaging (situation) where flood sacks almost eight local governments at once and hundreds of billions worth of assets and livelihood?” he asked.
“I would bet that if you spend 50% of the entire Ecological Fund in Anambra State in one year, it will be significant but touch 20% of the problem. Anambra is a national emergency by itself, by the nature of the ecological challenge that requires special funding and attention because one-third of the land of Anambra is under threat,” the governor stated.