Set Up. Flood Disaster Relief Fund, Atiku Tells FG

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    By; DAHIRU SULEIMAN, Dutse

    A call has gone to Federal government to as a matter of urgency, launch an Independent Flood Disaster Relief Fund that will provide succour to the victims of flood nationwide.

    People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made the call during his visit to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital to commiserate flood victims.

    “I visited Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital to have a personal experience of the devastation that victims of flooding across the country have been thrown into in the past few weeks.

    “The scenes are horrendous with what I witnessed in Bayelsa is as disheartening as reports from other places; it is a story of human trauma under the spell of the furry of nature. Public infrastructure like roads and power lines have been swept away in a flash and facilities like hospitals and schools are destroyed and remain unavailable.

    On his call to the Federal government, he said, “It is a national emergency relief fund, similar in scope to what was initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to that end, I wish to call on my friends and associates in the corporate world and in private capacities to join in this cause.

    “Altogether across the country, it is reported that more than 600 lives have been lost, with more than two million people displaced. People who are lucky to survive these floods have lost their belongings, and need every ounce of help that they can get from government, non-governmental charity institutions and private donors.

    “I commiserate with the victims who have lost their lives and pray that the Almighty gives us the strength to overcome. These incidents are unfortunate. Those who happen to become victims of it did not envisage such destruction. Nothing is too big or too small to give in showing empathy with them,” he said.

    The former Vice President therefore, made a donation to the victims.

    “On behalf of my delegation, I wish to make a donation of fifty million Naira to the victims in Bayelsa State. While we continue to advocate for charity in help of the victims, I want to reiterate my earlier call for the federal government to immediately launch an independent Flood Disaster Relief Fund that will provide succour to the victims of the floods.

    “I also wish to call on governments at all levels to immediately activate measures to forestall the food shortages and further increment in the already high cost of food that are bound to arise from the loss of hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmlands.

    “There is no doubt that a large number of the victims are farmers. I also wish to make a plea for the establishment of a temporary fund for farmers to ameliorate their losses and give them capital for next year’s planting season. Part of the plans to lessen the burden on Nigerians is for the federal government to consider increased releases of grains from our Strategic Food Reserves and reviewing our import policies to allow for the interim importation of food to make up for shortfalls in food production.

    “And to forestall the recurrences of such devastating levels of flooding, the government must build the critical infrastructure required to contain excess water along the banks of the Rivers Niger and Benue,” he said.

    According to Atiku Abubakar, the change in climate is a pointer to every human community to be circumspect in leadership recruitments.

    “Climate change is a convergence between politics and nature. Leadership and policies must also change to deal with the dramatc changes we are witnessing around us.

    “If we get our politics wrong by electing leaders who choose to play politics with climate change, and refuse to make necessary investments in smart solutions, we will be living in the relics of times past, unmindful of our attendant vulnerabilities.

    “It is worrisome that the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has failed to show leadership and empathy in the management of the disaster. Climate change is real and its effects are both local and global.

    “If elected as President in the presidential elections next year, I shall commit to completing the Dasin-Hausa Dam in Adamawa State to manage the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.

    “I shall also commit to working with state governments like Bayelsa to build the required flood management infrastructure such as levees and dykes in key locations in the Niger and Benue Basins.

    “The dredging of the rivers and estuaries through which inland waters empties into the sea will help in stemming flooding in the Niger Delta areas.

    “My government, if given the mandate, will retool our disaster awareness apparatus, such as the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA), to better forecast disasters and give the warning signals required to activate our national emergency response protocols.

    “This retooling will also include the reform of the Nigerian Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) to ensure that it anticipates and responds to disasters such as this, more efficiently than it did, in the current situation,” he assured.

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