Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has approved three billion naira (about $8.2 million) to cater for medical and relief support for persons affected by flooding in parts of the country.
The hydrological agency had warned last week of floods because of massive water inflows into two main rivers – the Benue and Niger. Areas surrounding the two water bodies have been flooded uprooting thousands from their homes.
Late last week, president Buhari through his chief of staff ordered the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, boss to declare a “national disaster,” if the situation so demands.
In tweets issued on Sunday (September 16) the president said: The Federal Government is closely monitoring the situation along the banks of the Rivers Benue and Niger. I have authorized NEMA to declare a “national disaster” if necessary. The military’s Disaster Response Units will be activated, for search and rescue missions.
“I have approved 3 billion Naira for the procurement of medical and relief materials to meet the needs of victims of the flooding. NEMA is also providing me with regular updates on the situation,” Buhari added.
Meanwhile, NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, has warned that flooding could get worse as water inflow into River Niger & Benue is so huge that both rivers can only accommodate less than two meters of water before they will overflow their banks into nearby communities.
He is expected to visit Kogi State, one of the states worst affected by the development. Lokoja is the capital of Kogi State and a confluence town where River Niger (West Africa’s longest) meets River Benue with both flowing downhill to empty into the Atlantic ocean.