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FLOODS: Reps canvass increase in ecological funds, amid alleged misuse of N1trn by states

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The House of Representatives, on Monday, urged the Federal Government to make swift request of N100bn as supplementary budget for the Ecological Project Office as intervention fund nationwide.

It also mandated its Committee on Appropriation to make provision of N200 billion in the 2023 appropriation year to mitigate, prepare and response to flood-related issues.

This came amid the alleged mismanagement of ecological funds allocated to different states in the last ten years.

In light of the havoc caused by the recent flooding in the country, the House of Representatives had launched a probe into how about N1trn distributed to different states in the past few years as intervention fund to address ecological issues had been utilized.

However, in a motion tagged “Need for Strategic Planning and Funding to Prevent the Reoccurrence of Flood and Erosion Disasters in Nigeria in 2023 and Beyond” and moved at plenary on Monday by Henry Nwawuba and Ibrahim Isiaka under matters of urgent public importance, the House demanded increment of ecological funds.

It also requested a release of 5bn for each state, including the FCT, in the ongoing bid to cushion the flooding effects in the country.

Nwawuba noted that the motion was necessary to mull preemptive measures of combating flood in light of predication by the Nigerian Metrological Agency, Nimet.

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He said: “We pay deaf ears to the sound and presence of risks associated with flooding, one thing is clear, that they will surely occur whether we plan for them or not.

“But, strategic planning and adequate funding will help mitigate the effects and facilitate quick and better recovery of lives, properties, economy and overall environment. with the public outcry of limited funds, reactive response should be changed to proactive response to increase effectiveness of management and reduce losses of life and properties.

“As far back as January 2022, the Nigerian Metrological Agency, Nimet, warned of impending floods across most states in Nigeria, especially flood prone areas and could continue until the end of November 2022 in many states across the nation.

“In 2012, 32 of 36 states were affected by flooding, with 363 people killed, over 2.1 million people displaced, about 7 million people affected and a total loss estimate of N2.6trillion recorded.

“In 2022, 33 of 36 states and the FCT are affected, that is 92% of the entire country, over 600 people killed. Over 1.4 million people displaced and over 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance with over 60% of this number being children.

“Nigeria appears to be unready for climate change with ranking of 162 of 180 countries in the environment performance index.

“The fact that the dimensional impact of this unfortunate situation are that we can expect a food crisis, humanitarian crisis, health crisis and revenue shortfall in Nigeria come 2023.”

The House, thus, tasked its committee on legislative agenda to liase with concerned stakeholders towards an articulate action to prevent flood disasters.

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