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Flooding: Senate Wants FG's Supplementary Budget

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…Confirms Ekpo Nta As ICPC Chairman

ABUJA, September 25, (THEWILL) - The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to forward a supplementary budget to address the immediate needs of flood victims.

It commiserated with the victims of recent flood disasters and held a one-minute silence for those who died in the process, urging the Federal Government to draw up a national standard procedure for responding to disasters in the future.

The senators also directed the National Inland Waterways Authority to take steps to de-silt waterways and tributaries already silted and overtaken by shrubs to pave the way for easy flow of water.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion titled The Menace of Flood in Nigeria, sponsored by Senator Danladi Sankara (PDP, Jigawa).

“The Senate notes that flood has ravaged many states, especially those states along the River Niger, River Benue, the Cross River, the Gongola River, the Iyere River and their tributaries,” he observed.

Debating the motion, the Senators decried the inadequacies of the relevant agencies saddled with the task of managing emergency cases of clouding in the country, such as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority.

They also deliberated on the importance of having both immediate and long-term solutions to the devastating effects of persistent flooding.

President of the Senate, David Mark while ruling on the motion, expressed worries over the response capacity of the agencies, maintaining that the flood has exposed the level of unpreparedness of Nigeria to disaster situations and lamenting there absence of a standard operating procedure to deal with disasters in the country.

“The response and capacity to disaster in Nigeria is bad. We need to get our acts together and begin to anticipate disasters. It is important to advise our citizens against building along water lines; there is need to also have an engineering design,” he advised.

“Overall, the rains this year were excessive and we needed to have evacuated people before the disasters came. We need long-term preparation to contain such otherwise, we will be caught napping.

“A standard operating procedure has to be designed so as to tackle such emergency situations when they occur in future. This is a serious enough issue for government to mobilise resources to tackle it.”

In another development on the 2013 budget, President Jonathan wrote to the Senate, saying: “I write to crave your kind indulgence to grant me the slot of 12.00 noon on Thursday, 4th October 2012 to enable me formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2013 budget.”

Also, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Barrister Ekpo Nta for appointment as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

His confirmation followed the consideration of report of the Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes by the committee of the whole.