Flooding: Ecological funds and governments that failed their people
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
As flood continues to ravage many of the Southern States of the country and Niger Delta region in particular, GbaramatuVoice Newspaper sympathizes with affected/displaced Nigerians.
Notably, GbaramtuVoice within this period visited so many of the affected victims in various villages and towns in Burutu and Patani Local Government Areas of Delta state, among others. The newspaper also received reports of how floods sacked many communities in Bayelsa, Rivers and Kogi states.
But very lamentably, in each of these visits and reports, GbaramatuVoice discovers a people abandoned by their Local, State and Federal Governments.
More particularly, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo states were reluctant in response. In these named states, we found governors that failed their people in their present circumstance.
It was just lately that the likes of Bayelsa state Governor, Douye Diri, issued a belated statement calling on the federal government to come to the state’s rescue and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, donated a tardy One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) to the management of flood victims.
On their part, as at the time of filing this report, nothing has been heard from Governors such as Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, Godwin Obaseki of Edo states in this direction and the newspaper is not surprised.
Making the whole occurrence a crisis is the awareness that the flood did not just occur without notice. Adequate information were given, warnings were sent by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), but none of the South South governors took practical steps to prepare for the coming challenge. So, why are they presently being reactive, whereas enough time was given to take proactive steps that would have save the people?
This frustrating reality has necessitated the questions as to: What is the usefulness of a national ecological fund periodically shared by federal, state and local governments to handle challenges such as flooding? Why are the three tiers of government not responding to the current flood challenge ravaging these innocent Nigerians? Or is the government saying that flood is no longer an ecological challenge? Making this development a reality is the fact that Niger Delta states received ecological funds in addition to 13% derivation?
For a better understanding of why GbaramatuVoice is enraged, the Ecological Fund going by available records is an intervention fund by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the multifarious ecological challenges like flood in various communities across the country.
It is shared among the three tiers of government.
It was established in 1981 through the Federation Account Act 1981, on the recommendation of the Okigbo Commission, Decree 36 of 1984 and 106 of 1992 as well as the allocation of Federation Account modification order of 2002 subsequently modified the act, the prime objective of this initiative was to have a pool of fund that would be solely devoted to the funding of ecological projects to ameliorate serious ecological problems nationwide.
The sum accruable to the federal government is utilized by the National Emergency Management Agency Ecological Fund Office (OSGF), and direct assistance to the Governments or any other projects on the approval of Mr. President, while the states and local government areas manage their shares independently.
So, in the face of the present flood, the following questions may be asked: Where is the National Emergency Management Agency and Ecological Fund Office (OSGF)? What about the Governors and Local Government Chairmen of the affected states? Why have they abandoned these flood victims to their fate?
In view of the above concerns, we call on the three tiers of government in Nigeria to save these flood displaced Nigerians. Most importantly, when the present flood is brought under control, what will the governors of the affected states be doing? Will they as usual go back to sleep waiting till next year when another round of flood will occur to take fire brigade approach or start making useful arrangements that will prevent future occurrence?
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