By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Panelists on an online media programme have commiserated with victims of the current flood disaster in Nigeria, while at same time, calling on governments at all levels to wake up to their responsibilities of bringing the perennial flood disaster that affects most part of the country to an end.
This was the view of panelists at a media programme of the Delta Online Publishers From (DOPF) Media Hangout, which is held monthly.
The panelists which comprised a veteran journalist and writer, Mrs. Herrientta Oyakhilome, a Deputy Manager of the Delta State owned Pointer Newspaper and a former student leader, and activist, Comrade Donald Igudia frowned at the inaction of governments, especially the federal, to find solution to end the effect of the annual releasing of water from the Cameroonian Dam, which when opened, empties its excess water into Nigerian communities.
The programme was Streamed Live on Facebook, and moderated by Abel Johngold of the National Orientation Agency.
The discussants agreed that flood is an environmental problem, an age-old phenomenon, which causes a significant rise of water level in a stream, lake, reservoir, or coastal system that overflows the banks as a result of natural or man-made factors that causes discomfort, destruction of lives and property, as well as pollution.
The panelists while commiserating with the victims of flood in Delta and Nigeria in general over the discomfort, the destruction of lives and their property and disease outbreak following the ravaging flood menace, said that governments at all levels should always be sensitive, prepared and proactive enough to combat the menace on time by building IDP camps across the local government areas before the occurrence, to avoid more loss of lives by heeding to the early warning of Nigerian Metrological Department (NIMET) and other states and orientation agencies.
The discussants bemoaned the fact that governments have not been sensitive to the plight of Nigerians, that is why they failed to complete the dam being constructed in Adamawa State to take in the excess water from Cameroon.
They asked the government to as a matter of urgency, act on the agreement the country had with Cameroon before their dams were constructed in 1977, as the group traced the origin of flood menace in Nigeria.
They alleged that Buhari’s first Military Government stopped the construction then.
DOPF therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to complete the project and as well, construct more dams to solve the problem of flood menace in the country.
“They said, “investigations revealed that the opening of the dam in Cameroon after the water has reached the maximum level, in a larger quantity the rise had to flow down to Nigerian rivers, especially the River Niger and River Benue, resulting in flood menace in Nigeria and consistently causing unquantifiable loss of lives and property, diseases, pollution in the country a case study of 2012, 2016 and 2022, an agreement as reached by Cameroonian Government with Nigeria”.
They also appealed to governments at all levels to put measures early enough, heed the warning of NIMET and orientation agencies by mobilizing funds and partnering critical stakeholders to build camps for internally displaced persons (IDP Camps)
On the distribution of palliatives, they called on the government to be up and doing and to avoid a repeat of what happened during the 2019 COVID-19, pandemic palliative distribution and monitor the activities of the flood committees in the various IDP camps to avoid politicians enriching themselves with the sorrows of other Deltans and Nigerians as this is in line with reports from victims.
They also called on the affected states to go beyond food distribution and building of IDP camps, but also see how they can construct their own dams to hold back the rising waters any time it occurs.