President Muhammadu Buhari has empowered the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Maihaja, to declare a “national disaster” should anticipated floods in the country become a reality.
The President also said NEMA could spend up to NGN3b to procure and stock relief materials and health related items to cater for the needs of the people.
This was announced yesterday in a release by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Garba Shehu.
The President’s directive was sequel to a caution issued by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency that Rivers Benue and Niger had almost reached levels that resulted in flooding in 2012, which led to lost of lives and destruction of property.
The information was conveyed in a letter to the Director of General of NEMA, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari entitled: “Situation Report on the River Flood Along the Banks of Rivers Benue and Niger’’.
“Delegation of authority to the Director General of NEMA to activate the Disaster Response Units of the military for possible search and rescue missions, and the procurement and proportionate stocking of relief materials and health related items up to N3billion to provide for the needs of possible victims,’’ the letter reads.
The letter also instructed the head of the emergency agency to provide regular updates to the President.
It will be recalled that in 2012, there was what the termed the worst floods in five decades in Nigeria. The floods reportedly displaced over 2 million people, killed 363 and thousands of acres of farmlands were submerged.