-Nigerians urged to be conscious, adopt climate-responsible behaviors
A Study Group on Just and Green, comprising Labour activists, environmentalists, and lawyers, have urged the Nigerian government to declare a State of Emergency in response to the devastating flood that has affected a large section of the country.
This was contained in a statement signed on behalf of the group by Mr. Bashman Mohammed, Convener, Global Labour University (GLU) Climate Change Study Group of Nigeria, 2022.
The group also said given the threat of massive outbreak of malaria, cholera, and other water-borne diseases following the flooding, the government should make the distribution of malaria nets, anti-malaria drugs, as well as water disinfectants the topmost priority this season.
According to the statement made available to journalists in Abuja, the group urged Nigerians to be conscious and adopt climate-responsible behaviors such as proper waste disposal, clearing of drainages, and avoiding the obstruction of waterways.
The statement said, the evidence points to Climate Change as a major cause of the flooding. It explained further that the incremental changes in weather patterns over a period is haunting and hurting millions of lives and ecosystems all over the world.
“The excessive reliance on fossil fuels for production and living is releasing Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere. The concentration of these gases over time in the atmosphere is responsible for the extreme climate conditions and associated devastation such as drought, flooding, high temperatures and other environmental dislocations in different parts of the world. Nigeria is not exempted,” the statement noted.
Furthermore, it noted that there are also pointers to the management of the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon as a major contributor to the flooding disaster.
The group therefore urged Federal Government of Nigeria should (as a matter of urgency) declare a State of Emergency on the current national flooding, adding that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, NEMA and other National Emergency Support Agencies should be rapidly deployed into action to give succor to affected individuals, families, businesses, and communities.
The statement reads further, “the Federal Government should undertake a thorough investigation into the immediate and remote causes of this year’s national flooding, especially the role of negligence and poor management of inland waterways and water infrastructure, especially the Lagdo Dam and the failure of the successive Nigerian governments to build catchment dams along flood prone waterways. The public inquiry should also make recommendations on how best to manage the periodic release of water from the Lagdo Dam.
“The Nigerian government should construct catchment dam/s to accommodate excess waters released from the Lagdo Dam. The Dredging of River Niger and River Benue should be accorded topmost priority.
“The Federal government should increase the sensitization of communities, especially those in flood prone areas, about climate change and how human activities such as poor waste disposals can aggravate the prevailing climate emergency. Also, the Federal Government should engage and deploy experts on waste management in communities to do the needful.
“Considering the humungous threats to lives and the socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians by the devastating flooding, we urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to pay victims of the flooding adequate compensation for lost lives and properties destroyed.
“Government should also ensure that relief and humanitarian materials reach the over 2.5 million Nigerians displaced from their homes by this flood. Given the threat of massive outbreak of malaria, cholera, and other water-borne diseases, government should make the distribution of malaria nets, anti-malaria drugs, as well as water disinfectants topmost priority this season.”