Senate Decry Lagos Flooding
ABUJA, July 14, (THEWILL) - The Senate today bemoaned the flood disaster and consequently ordered the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to remove all wrecked ships from all the country’s costal lines.
Also, Sen. Ahmed Sani Stores (CPC, Katsina) called for the resignation of the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), following what he described as his failure to provide relief materials, weeks after the flood disaster that claimed lives and properties in Katsina.
A visibly stunned President of the Senate, David Mark however declared that the magnitude of the Lagos flood disaster requires a declaration of emergency, but doubts whether such move could not be misconstrued to mean the setting aside of the state government
The Senate, which observed a minute silence for all those that lost their lives at the Lagos disaster, also urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to urgently effect repairs on all affected federal roads nation–wide.
The resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Senator Ganiyu Solomon (ACN Lagos) and six others on the flood disaster.
Moving the motion, the lawmaker noted that the carnage left behind by Sunday’s torrential rains in parts of Lagos was tragic as many lives including children were lost and properties worth hundreds of millions of naira washed away.
He further noted that the tragedy occurred as a result of the severity of the rain and that the state which is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria had been shut down and economic activities grounded to a halt with fears being expressed that the state could be submerged.
However, Senator Solomon told the senators that he is concerned that some federal roads particularly the Abeokuta express way collapsed in three places, thereby hampering the movement of people in and out of Lagos and that axis of the south west. He added that the Oshodi-Apapa express way was also flooded and is in danger of collapse and therefore requires attention.
Besides the lawmaker complained that several ships anchored have run aground at coast further compounding the problem.
What is needed at this moment he stated is a concerted effort of both the federal and the state governments to provide relief materials to victims and stem the tide to avert further loss of lives as they try to prevent future occurrences.
Nonetheless, Solomon told the senators that he is aware that there have also been news of flooding and displacement of people and properties in Oyo, Ogun, Katsina and Kano states.
Contributing to the debate, Sen. George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers), while agreeing with the content of the motion, described the flood disaster in Lagos as a national disaster. He therefore urged the metrological department to take a step further by providing more information on such disasters which will perhaps predict areas that maybe affected to make for planning and early evacuation of people.
On his part Sen. Ayogu Eze (PDP, Enugu) noted that the incident in Lagos was a wakeup call for the world to take the issue of weather changes seriously. He urged for strict adherence to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, adding that drainages in Lagos were overwhelmed. He called on residents to clear their drainages.
Sen. Uche Chukwumerije (PDP, Abia) said the disaster of such magnitude was the responsibility of the federal government. Sen. Barnabas Gemade (PDP, Benue) however said the issue should be looked at in many other areas.
For Sen. Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi) NEMA is not in any position to deal with the issues of this magnitude because the agency does not have adequate equipment to tackle them.
“The issue of NEMA should concern us. NEMA should be empowered to meet the challenges ahead of us.”
He lamented that enough has not been provided by the state to deal with these problems as such the masses suffer when natural disasters happen.
“It is not enough to talk about the problem. We need to look at the lives of the people. People live in squalor. We have to look at it beyond the theories but at the life of the average Nigerian who are victims of the problem.”