More than 100 communities in Niger State have been submerged following the overflow of the River Niger.
Farmlands and houses have also been destroyed, leaving residents of the affected communities homeless.
Although there are no reports of casualties, the Niger State Governor, Mr Abubakar Bello, has visited the communities with other members of the state executive to find ways of relocating the residents.
This comes weeks after the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) issued a flood alert for seven states – Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, and Bayelsa – on the floodplains of River Niger.
The agency also warned that the steady rise in water levels and weather forecast in the coming weeks have put Nigeria at risk of witnessing a recurrence of catastrophic flooding similar to what it witnessed in 2012.
It, therefore, called on 12 states to be on alert with Edo, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, and Rivers states joining the seven states previously put on alert.
Did you know that “about 100 million poor persons would be added to the world’s poor people’s index by the year 2030 unless, world leaders take urgent steps to implement policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change”?
This is according to the Practice Manager for Environmental and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Mr Benoit Bonquet.
Mr Bonquet made the remarks on Friday at a conference in Abuja on how to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.
He warned about the dangers of not taking serious steps to address the issues of climate change by the year 2030.
The forum was organised by the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Environment, as part of efforts by the Nigerian Government to create awareness on climate change.
The Director, Department of Climate Change at the ministry, Mr Yerima Tarfa, stressed the need for the government to make necessary arrangements to deliver on its climate change pledges.
The National Project Coordinator of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Mr Salisu Dahiru, also advocated investing in renewable energy.
Data from the World Bank revealed that the world’s temperature has continued to get warmer at an alarming rate since 1981.
Some states in Nigeria, especially those situated along the coast of the River Niger experienced severe flooding which led to loss of lives.
Environmentalists attributed some of these experiences to climate change, hence governments are thinking about how to mitigate its effects.
The Delta State Government says it has kept its promise to dualise the Nnebisi road which is about 70% completed, from the traffic light to the cable Point which terminates at the bank of the River Niger.
The government says the development was to actualise the vision of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration of even infrastructural development in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Works, James Augoye, made the disclosure in Asaba, the Delta State capital, south-south Nigeria.
Augoye revealed that the road construction is in two phases with the first phase from Nnebisi Road to the Cable Market which is about 1.71 kilometres.
He added that the second phase would be from the market to River Niger as a single carriage road.
The Commissioner gave an insight on the characteristics and value of the road, stressing that the government would only embark on projects that were geared towards the economic development of the state.
He pointed out that without good roads, it would be impossible for economic activities to thrive, even as more deliverable was expected from the government.
The Cable Market is at the centre of the connection between the Igalas in Kogi State, the Igbos of Asaba in Delta State and the Igbos of Nteje in Anambra State.
Although some of the traders had raised concerns on the project, they commended the state government for its efforts so far.
They said the road was known to be very bad as it distorts the activities of farmers, traders and other road users.
Rights group, Amnesty International says that Nigeria’s army in May killed at least 17 unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Amnesty’s report, which it says was based on details from eyewitnesses, morgues and hospitals, says soldiers opened fire on members of IPOB and their supporters in Onitsha, Anambra State during the build up to a march.
The human rights group added that the killings took place during a security operation in the early hours of the morning, shortly before the march when the military raided homes and a church where IPOB members slept.
The Nigerian Army, however, dismissed the allegations as unfounded. The Army says that Amnesty’s accusations reveal a bias that undermined its credibility.
The Army issued a statement in which it said troops had to “resort to self defense” after IPOB members attacked security agencies with “firearms” and various weapons including dynamite.
It said five members of IPOB were killed, eight wounded while nine were arrested.
“These efforts were in order to de-escalate the palpable tension as well as ward off the apparent threats to lives and property in the general area,” it said.
However, Amnesty said its investigation showed at least 17 people were killed and nearly 50 injured, adding that “the real number is likely to be higher”.
Urging government to investigate, the right group said, “Information gathered by Amnesty International indicates that the deaths of supporters and members of IPOB was the consequence of excessive, and unnecessary use of force.”
The contents of the report were rejected by army spokesman Sani Usman. “The allegations are unfounded,” he said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has directed the Assistant Inspectors General of Police and the Commissioners of Police in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria to disarm members of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) operating firearms immediately.
According to a statement by the Police PRO, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, this is following the manifestation of the disposition of the armed IPOB activists to undertake premeditated attacks on Police officers engaged in operations aimed at restoring public order in the states.
The IGP noted that the targeted attacks on Police personnel, who have been performing their statutory functions in the most professional and civil manner since the latest resurgence disorder, portrays the IPOB activists who are orchestrating the insurrection as having crossed the threshold in their misguided attempt to test the common will of the nation.
IGP Arase, while condemning the killing by members of IPOB, also directed the arrest of any member of the group found in possession of firearm and bring such to deserved justice.
He added that all IPOB activists arrested in connection with the killing of the Policemen should be charged to court for murder.
“Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force will continue to diligently work towards eliminating any threat to internal security and assures Nigerians of its commitment to their safety and security,” she concluded.
Police have arrested eight and wounded four members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) who were involved in the killing of two policemen in Asaba, the capital of Delta State.
The arrests were made by the Delta State Police Command on Monday.
According to a statement signed by the acting Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Charles Muka, the members of the group attacked policemen and army patrol team at three locations at Cable Point and Abraka areas where they killed two policeman, injured two others and made away with one AK.47 rifle and one smoke gunner.
The group was also said to have thrown two of the injured policemen into the River Niger at Cable Point before moving ahead to damage a military and police patrol van.
The police statement also confirmed that a pregnant woman was hit by stray bullet and currently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
The police said they had restored normalcy in the State capital, but advised parents and guardians to warn their children against unlawful actions.
The group also held demonstrations in some other south eastern states.
In Anambra State members of MASSOB mounted road blocks and set bonfire in Nkpor and Onitsha causing the roads to be deserted.
According to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hassan Karma, the suspected members of MASSOB gathered at a school in Nkpor with identifying flags emblazoned with the rising sun symbols and charms but with mission unknown.
In Imo State Police Command arrested over 20 members of MASSOB for what they termed disturbance of public peace.
While parading the members of the group at the command headquarters in Owerri, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said that the group were rounded up around Tetlow Street by Okigwe road at about 11AM where they were said to be gathering to storm the city metropolis.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has issued a flood alert to communities on the shores of River Niger and River Benue.
In a statement signed by the Director General of the Agency, Dr Moses Beckley, the agency said that communities in Niger, Anambra, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kogi and Benue States will experience flood due to the latest release of water from the Lagdo and Kainji dams.
The agency advised the affected communities to relocate to avoid the 2012 incident, where lives and properties were destroyed by flood.
Following the recent prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) on possible flooding later this year, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Imo State operations office, has warned Imo residents living in flood prone areas to be conscious of their environment and report any overflow of their river to appropriate authorities.
The Imo State Coordinator NEMA, Dr Innocent Ezeaku, gave this warning in Owerri the Imo State capital while addressing journalists at the headquarters of the agency.
He noted that Imo State was one of the most affected states of the 2012 flood and due to this measures are being put in place to ensure that in case of any such occurrence, there are measures put in place to ameliorate the effect.
He urged residents of Oguta and Ohaji Egbema Local Government Areas of the state to be more vigilant due to the presence of the Oguta lake, a tributary of the River Niger.
He, however, noted that agency has begun construction of IDP centers that will house displaced persons in case of any occurrence.
Mr Ezeaku also said due to the incessant rainfall, the state government must keep up with their monthly sanitation exercise to ensure drainages are not blocked.
Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, on Thursday expressed the State’s readiness to give the Dangote Group, headed by Aliko Dangote, 50,000 hectares of land to use for agricultural purposes to boost the State’s economy.
He told Channels Television at the on-going World Economic Forum on Africa, holding in Abuja, that Niger has the largest land mass in Nigeria and was prepared for investors to come in.
He further commended the investors for taking the risk of choosing Niger State because “agriculture is not one of these investments that bring money quickly”.
“In fact, Dangote is asking for about 50,000 hectares which we have found and we are ready. We have prepared every local government,” he said.
He also disclosed that the State was willing to give land to other investors interested in housing projects and agriculture. “If it is for housing, in fact under 48 hours, you can get your certificate if you apply… for agriculture, at least within two weeks.”
The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, has insisted that the President has handled the affairs of the country very well and remains focused to fulfil his New Year promises to Nigerians.
Abati said on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ that at the begin of 2013, the President promised that all the successes he achieved in the previous year would be consolidated upon in 2013, and that he has done creditably well.
Speaking from the Abuja studio of Channels TV, Dr Abati referred to 2013 as a productive year for the country in infrastructure development. He cited several achievements of the administration, with ongoing and completed projects in transportation, aviation, including the dredging of the River Niger.
He also noted that many companies are already benefitting from the development, as cement companies have started transporting their goods via the railway system.
The Presidential Spokesman also cited the aviation sector as one in which the President scores high in infrastructure development as many airports are being rehabilitated and constructed.
As expected, the power sector privatisation was also lauded by Dr Abati, as he boasted that the process has been adjudged transparent, efficient and open by many international bodies; a testimony to the efficiency of President Goodluck Jonathan, with promises that in 2014 there would be more efficiency.
He was however asked to clarify the news that a Canadian firm wanting to construct the fast rail system in Nigeria has not been well embraced by the Jonathan administration, Abati chose to answer this with the ratings of Nigeria’s investor friendly status globally.
He stated that for any company saying there had been no success in its quest to invest in Nigeria, if they are qualified they would be successful, adding that Manitoba Hydro is a Canadian company that is doing business in Nigeria.
Abati also reacted to questions in the media about the decision of the government to revive the Nigerian railway system after 17 years of its death by bringing the old locomotive system back, when the world is moving past such technology.
He argued that when President Jonathan came on board, the railway system was comatose, “so what we did was to rehabilitate what existed”. He claimed that there are still plans to upgrade and modernize. He also said that the Lagos-Ibadan Express road project is a proof of Jonathan’s commitment to making things easier for Nigerians.
Dr Abati also shared his views on education, and the government’s sensitivity to labour unions with examples made of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA.
He warned that they (unions) should show understanding because “at the end of the day this is about our country and people should not politicize issues.” He insisted that the President is serious about his New Year statement that all efforts to pick on the initiatives of his administration will not discourage him.
Abati also noted that the criticisms in the 18-page open letter from former president, Olusegun Obasanjo to President Jonathan have been addressed by the President himself in the first paragraph of his reply.
He added that the open reply would not have been necessary because most of the issues have been discussed by both men since Obasanjo has been a regular visitor to President Jonathan, but the reply became only necessary based on demand.
He insisted “He will not be distracted as he has said” adding that the widely reported 7% economic growth and Stock Market growth are proofs that the administration was focused.
Speaking further, Dr Abati said that 2013 was also a lucky year in Nigeria even in sports as the country won many laurels and also was voted into the Security Council of the United Nations, which shows that the international community has high regards for the country.
He added that even the crisis from his own party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, would not affect the business of governance.
No Need To Continue
In a twist, Legal Practitioner, Ebun Adegorowa, who joined the programme from the Lagos studio went hard on Dr Abati’s claims of many successes and berated the Presidential Spokesman for his contradictory claims.
He said that Abati spoke as if he was talking about another country, as he wondered where the claimed developments existed.
“All projects are ongoing and you say cement companies are already benefitting”
He cited the problems in the aviation sector as getting worse, and the power situation becoming a case of “no power”.
Adegorowa, , in deflating Abati’s claims, reeled out his own list of international ratings in which Nigeria has been rated to have been woeful in leadership, corruption and economic development.
He wondered why Abati would mention football which has no relevance to the survival of the average Nigerian as part of the achievement of his boss.
He argued that if the only thing President Jonathan is interested in is holding on to power, then there is no need to continue.
Speaking further, he berated the administration’s attitude to the fight against corruption. He asked, “When EFCC has just 2 million in his account how will it fight corruption?”
“President Jonathan has failed us and he has no reason to continue”
In a swift dramatic response, Abati condemned Adegorowa for “just throwing tantrums” speaking out of ignorance as his arguments lacked information and knowledge. He claimed that he should be the one wondering if Ebun lived in the country.
Although Dr Abati took time to tackle all issues raised by Mr Adegorowa, Adegorowa insisted that if Obasanjo says he (Jonathan) has no idea, then he should be taken seriously.
Dr Abati while commenting on Adegorowa’s allegation that President Jonathan is not showing real commitment to fighting corruption in Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah’s case, said that an allegation does not amount to truth, it has to be proven and people cannot just be punished based on allegation.
He added that the House of Representatives has handled the matter and the President has also set up a 3-man panel to look into it; an action Adegorowa referred to as a way of avoiding responsibility.
Mr Ebun Adegorowa concluded by saying that President Jonathan is living on a borrowed time as he did not believe that he could do anything for Nigeria. He stressed that the desperately convened National Conference aimed at getting support for his 2015 ambition would not help him.
He explained that with the current situation whereby Jonathan is losing support with many of his party members “porting” to the opposition as he is fast losing the majority in the National Assembly, he cannot be focused on work.
He added that when he (the President) had full support he did not perform, let alone when he is losing his supporters. He advised that he should “just pack up” and leave.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) has discovered a severe pipeline leakage in a remote area of Abuja in a renewed effort to curb all activities related to pipeline vandalism in the country.
Kilometer 407 NNPC pipeline in Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja has been damaged over 7 days causing severe crude oil spill and water pollution spanning over 6 villages in the area.
Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin said millions of naira has already been lost with an increased risk of bunkering as the leakage is left unattended to and without intervention.
The 7 villages include Alamo, Kache, Pai and Kundu, which all share the nearby Suma River linking up to rivers Niger and Kaduna. The portions of land on the way of the leakage are soaked deep with crude, with six feet deep crude wells spilling its content.
The NSCDC chief however expressed concern that without immediate and adequate intervention, the area might become another case where bunkers take advantage of leakages to cause more damage.
An Environmentalist, Idowu Salawu on Thursday said the states that received monies from the Federal Government to ameliorate their flooding problems should spend part of that fund in conducting post impact assessment studies.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Salawu cautioned the State governors that the monies should not be spent on frivolous jamborees but must be targeted at helping those displaced by the floods.
“The money is not for jamboree,” he said.
“If I am one of the lawmaker or policy maker saddled with the responsibility of managing this fund, I will take 10 percent of that money to carry out post impact assessment study of the flood impacted areas,” he added.