The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, Thursday said it would take steps to ensure that adequate planning and interventions to check and mitigate the impact of flooding and desertification on the people this year.
This came as residents of Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa State appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to adopt pragmatic approach in evaluating the funds disbursed by the federal government to cushion the effects of last year’s flood disasters on affected areas.
However, Saraki, who said this in Abuja, during an event organised by the management of the group, known as ‘Say It Loud Africa’ to mark this year’s World Environment Day celebration, said the resolve by the Senate to address the environmental problems facing the country was as a result of the problems it posed to food security.
“We are working proactively with the Federal ministry of Environment to ensure planning and interventions to forestall and mitigate the impact of flooding on our people this year,” he said.
According to him, most of the country’s arable lands were being destroyed with severe impacts, adding that, “unless we reclaim these lands and stop them from further exacerbation, we stand little chance in our fight against poverty, malnutrition and insecurity.”
The Project Director of the group, Mr. Femi Oyelade, lamented the damaging impact of flood and desertification, which he said, had induced more unemployment, poverty and compromised the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Meanwhile, residents of Demsa local government area of Adamawa State, who spoke to THISDAY, said the call had become imperative given the huge amount of money spent by the federal government to aid last year’s flood victims, despite the fact that it had been difficult probing the committees saddled with the responsibility of disbursing the funds in all the affected states across the nation.
One of the victims, Mr. Musa Yakubu, told THISDAY that the President should evaluate the impact of the funds before going ahead to release another fund.
Yakubu said: “If not for the media, we wouldn’t know anything about the money. I know that government cannot do everything for us. For instance, lets say N50,000 was given to us, some of us would have channel the fund into our irrigation farming and by now we would have gotten more harvest than what we got.”
Another victim, Yoila Ginam, said the N500 million released would have gone a long way to cushion the disaster if the money had been channelled through right sources. ”
According to him, “the government keep saying we should relocate. Where do we should relocate to? The federal government should investigate this matter because people affected were not people benefitting from it.”