AN environmental activist, Olumide Idowu, has asked the Federal Government to collaborate with civil society organisations (CSOs) to sensitise Nigerians at the grassroots on climate change and how it affects environmental disasters such as flooding.
Idowu, who heads the International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI) urged the government to intensify efforts to enlighten the people, noting that every government body has a role in flood disaster management.
He said this on Wednesday, April 26, while speaking during a Twitter Space organised by The ICIR.
Idowu asked the Federal Government to prioritise coherence across all its agencies and ensure that existing rules and regulations align with its goal to control flooding and reduce the impact of climate change in the country.
“Government should build collaborative efforts with civil society organisations so that awareness can reach the grassroots,” he said.
“They can also collaborate with other government agencies like the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitise the people on how to prevent and mitigate flooding.”
Idowu said there should be rules against human actions that contribute to flooding in the country and anyone found flouting these rules must be punished.
“There should also be a policy that will ensure that government officials can penalise anyone caught contributing to the environmental issues responsible for the flooding.”
According to him, the government is not doing enough to control the recurrence of flooding and to protect the citizens.
“You want to engage communities to understand this problem; you need to make sure that you build a collaborative effort in reaching out to these people. Most residents of flood-prone communities lack knowledge of climate and its impact.
“The government must prioritise policy coherence and align existing rules and regulations towards achieving the goals of a sustainable climate. The goals should be inter-linked across ministries because every government ministry must play a role. The actions must be sustainable and continual.”
He urged the government to stick to its international agreements and frameworks on climate change issues while establishing a disaster risk governance.
In 2022, Nigeria experienced the worst flood disaster since 2012.
The flooding damaged homes, infrastructure and large farmland areas across the country. Over 600 people died, and an estimated 2.8 million others were affected, including those displaced from their communities.
However, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has predicted that the 2023 rainfall will be heavy and intense, with flooding expected in several states.
NiMET forecasted that 2023 will witness an early onset of rainfall accompanied by flooding,
The rainfall will begin in March among coastal areas in the South-South. According to the agency, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers states will experience downpours while Southern Inland cities will see precipitation.