A source who prefers anonymity has disclosed that ministers appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to within 90 days bring out plans to save the flooded parts of the country have been mismanaging the situation.
Newsonline reported that Buhari on 24 October appointed the Minister of Water Resources to lead and coordinate with the Ministries of Environment and Transportation to develop a plan of action to prevent flooding in the country.
The three ministers were also ordered to work with the Chief of Staff to the president, Professor Gambari to effect an immediate response to save citizens who have been decimated by the flood which has submerged most communities in the country.
However, the directive of the president before he left for Seoul, Soth Korea, is yet to be put into action, as top government officials who are to take charge are “mismanaging the situation”.
Osasu Obayiuwana, a lawyer, disclosed that he spoke with a source in the presidency who “admitted that Nigeria government is mismanaging the situation.
According to Osasu, the source said, “It’s heartbreaking. I’m also screaming in here [telling the top officials in government to act quicker and more effectively]. Ministers need to do better.”
The source added that “Mr President, Mpuhammadu Buhari needs to wield his big stick or sack them [for incompetence or dereliction of duty].”
Osasu further argued that “the fact that the President himself is in Seoul, South Korea while this disaster is ongoing was not lost on me, during this conversation.”
He further disclosed ” I was also made to understand that Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to the president, has been making the situation very clear to him, that the government is not acting promptly or properly, as the disaster unfolds.”
More than 1.5 million children at risk- UN Report
A United Nations report on 21st October stated that more than 1.5 million children are at risk in the country following the effect of flooding.
According to UNICEF, “More than 2.5 million people in Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance – 60 per cent of which are children – and are at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the most severe flooding in the past decade, UNICEF warned today.
“The floods, which have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, have displaced 1.3 million people. Over 600 people have lost their lives and over 200,000 houses have either been partially or fully damaged. Cases of diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infection, and skin diseases have already been on the rise. In the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of 12 October. As rains are expected to continue for several weeks, humanitarian needs are also expected to rise.”
Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria said “Children and adolescents in flood-affected areas are in an extremely vulnerable situation.”
She added, “They are particularly at risk of waterborne diseases and emotional and psychological distress. UNICEF is working closely with the Government and other partners to provide life-saving assistance to those who are most in need.”
Recall that on 24th October, the president in a statement released by his Senior Special adviser of Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari gave the Minister of Water Resources, Minister of Environment and Minister of Transportation to within 90 days develop a comprehensive action plan for preventing flood disaster in the country.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Water Resources to lead and coordinate with the Ministries of Environment and Transportation as well as State Governments to develop a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria.
“The President’s directive, which was conveyed to the Minister in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, said the Plan should be presented to him in 90 days.
“President Buhari is regularly receiving updates on the flooding situation in the country and restates his commitment towards addressing the challenges caused by the disaster in the country.”
It, however, appears the order of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, is lacking implementation and may not help the hundreds of communities, millions of Nigerian children and mothers who are suffering the flood effects until the president comes back from Seoul.