President Muhammadu Buhari warned the 36 state governors to desist from calling on the federal government to respond to natural disaster in their jurisdiction

 President Muhammadu Buhari, has warned the 36 state governors to desist from calling on the federal government to respond to natural disaster in their areas without first taking immediate action, describing it as unlawful.


At the same time, the presidency, yesterday, reacted to a recent editorial by The Guardian newspapers, canvassing for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the newspaper was known to be antagonistic and political opponent of both the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress ( APC).


Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, explained that reaction to flooding and other natural disasters should follow the triple response structure of the local governments, states and the federal governments.


While condoling with the victims of recent flooding incidents in some parts of the country, Buhari said: "The structure of the response mechanism on this issue is clear: the government at the center should step in to directly address national-level emergencies and that local government councils and the states are the first responders in all situations.


"Calls for the federal government to respond to all outbreaks of natural disaster do not just display an understanding of Nigerian law. While not a national-level emergency, the ongoing flooding is an emergency nevertheless. Nigerian lives and property are at stake.


"We call on governors of those states that have swung into action and engaged the necessary gear to continue with their efforts, and those that have not, to immediately face their duties of managing the flooding within their jurisdictions - that is, the job that the president, governors and council chairmen have been elected to do.


"Each of the three tiers, the local government, the state government and the federal government, has a sizeable budget at its disposal, allocated monthly precisely for dealing with these state-level natural emergencies, as well as federal agencies dedicated to doing the same.


"It is not clear why some of the state governments in question are not already drawing upon those funds to tackle the current emergency, and the general population is misguidedly calling on the federal government to intervene in all situations. If those moneys are, for whatever reason, no longer available, the affected states and local councils must immediately contact the relevant authorities to explain what has happened with those funds.


"Under the prevailing revenue allocation formula, 2.32 per cent of derivation funds is set aside for ecology and disaster management. Of this amount, the 36 states and the FCT get 0.72 per cent, the 774 local governments get 0.6 per cent, adding to 1.32 per cent, leaving a balance of one per cent to the government of the federation.


"By the law of land, NEMA takes 20 per cent of the amount allocated to the Federal Government. The North East Development Commission, NEDC collects 10 per cent , the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA 10 per cent, and the National Agency for the Great Green Wall, GGW 0.5 per cent, leaving 0.55 of the one per cent to the government at the center for ecological protection and disaster management."


While commending the few states working to avert natural disasters and managing same where they occur, Buhari gave assurances that the federal government would continue to work closely with the states to provide all possible assistance to overcome this challenge, even as he insisted that responding to natural disasters must be seen as a shared responsibility that must stand on the three-legged structure.





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