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NIMET Warns Of More Flooding In July

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has warned that Nigerians should expect more flooding following the prospects of moderate to severe run-off of rains fall across some parts of the country.
Consequently, the agency has warned that the current soil moisture condition across Nigeria shows that Kaduna, Benue, Anambra, Delta, Gombe, Zamfara and Northern Yobe will experience moderate to severe run-off of rains between July and September.
In a statement in Abuja, Head of Public Relations Unit, Mrs Tessy Ushie, explained that NiMet made the prediction in its 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
The agency had predicted that parts of Nigeria would be affected when the monsoon features becomes well established over the country.
It explained that the first decade of July, 2017, witnessed significant positioning of the monsoon features across the country.
It would be recalled that NiMET, had in the 2017 prediction, warned that Rivers State may suffer severe flooding as a result of heavy rain fall.
NiMET had said that many communities in the coastal areas of the state would likely witness heavy flooding.
It listed the local government areas most likely to be heavily affected to include, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada West, PHALGA and Obio/Akpor.
The agency, however, assured that it was prepared to respond to any emergency situation arising from flooding, but also called on residents living in the flood-prone areas not to go to sleep with their two eyes closed.
While reacting to the NiMET prediction, the Head, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-South, James Eze Major, had blamed poor town planning administration and the penchant for property developers to ignore physical and urban planning codes and laws while erecting structures, as a major reason for the flash floods already witnessed by residents of some parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs.
Major said, “We are prepared to respond to any unusual situation in less than 24 hours. We have the ability to interface with impacted areas and victims within short notice. We are also ready to supply relief materials, when the need arises.
“I am appealing to people living in the local government areas listed above, especially those close to the River Niger and its major tributaries, not to sleep with their two eyes closed. They should always look out for and identify when the level of water threatens to overflow its bank.
“Also, the town planning officers should ensure that the standard rules and regulations are adhered to while residents should ensure that blocked water channels are cleared to avoid creating serious challenge for government,” the Major added.
In the current warning, NiMET said the line separating the dry Easterly winds and the moist South Westerly winds (Inter Tropical Discontinuity) oscillated between latitude 16 degrees North and 19.5 degrees North with mean position of 17.9 degrees North.
“The Northern Hemispheric High (Saharan High) weakened in the period with a gradual retreat to the Mediterranean Sea/Europe in favour of the northward push of the Inter Tropical Discontinuity.
“The Southern Hemispheric High encroached northwards with its 1015hPa (hemisphere per hour) Isoline extended to the coastal cities of Nigeria thus enhancing the influx of moisture inland at the surface.
“These were engulfed by moist maritime winds in the period except on July 4 that continental winds were observed at the 850hPa,” NiMet stated.
The agency also disclosed that the favourable monsoon conditions had led to adequate moisture in the atmosphere and subsequently precipitated in large amounts that the soil could not absorb.
It said the situation was responsible for the flooding that hit Lagos, Niger, Abuja and some other parts of the country with its attendant destruction of lives and property.
According to NiMet, it is pertinent to note that Victoria Island recorded one fall of 176.5mm rain on July 8 and Lagos Roof near Tafawa Balewa Square had 132.8mm the same day.
“Some stations had recorded heavy rainfall the previous day, July7, with 69.8mm and 65.6mm respectively which led to the reported flooding.
“In order to mitigate future occurrence of such flooding, the public should avoid blockage of water ways and flood plains and ensure clearance of drainage in their environment.
“NiMet will continuously monitor the weather conditions as they unfold and provide regular updates and advisories to the public,” NiMet said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has commiserated with all Nigerians on the damage caused by recent floods across the country, especially in Niger and Lagos states.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, conveyed the government’s sympathy at a news conference in Abuja.
He said that about 30 states and over 100 local government areas, which had been categorised as high flood risk areas, could expect flooding this year.
The minister, however, gave assurance that the flow of this water would be constantly monitored by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), while flood alerts would continue to be issued across the country.
Adamu also advised that people should adhere to the advice in the recent Annual Flood Outlook issued by the NIHSA and other flood alerts by related agencies.
He said that the ministry would soon embark on a sensitisation campaign, in collaboration with NIHSA, to educate the entire citizenry on flood issues.
The minister called on the state and local governments to also embark on similar sensitisation campaigns on flooding, particularly at the grassroots level.
Adamu also advised that those living in urban cities to always refrain from constructing structures on drainages.
He, therefore, underscored the need for state and local governments to strictly enforce environmental laws and town planning guidelines so as to check uncontrolled physical development in their domains.
He, however, assured Nigerians that more dams and water reservoirs would be constructed across the country to avert recurrence of flood incidents in the future.
The minister’s statement coincided with Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s approval of the immediate release of N1.6 billion to 16 states already affected by the flood.

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Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court

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The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.

Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.

The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.

It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.

They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.

According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.

The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.

However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.

Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.

The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.

Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.

He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.

More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.

Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.

The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.

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World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.

The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.

“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.

“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?

“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.

“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.

“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”

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Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation

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Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.

The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.

“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.

Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.

It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.

“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’

“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.

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