As the challenge of flooding in communities continues due to climate change, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Connected Development Initiatives (CODE) has tasked community people and media practitioners to track the climate funding for proper utilisation budgeted money and also for transparency and accountability.
CODE made the call at a one-day capacity building workshop for media and community-based organisations in Rivers State.
In her opening remarks, CODE Programme Associate, Hyeladzira James Mshelia said that if the media and communities can follow what she called “Follow the Money,” then government agencies handling climate change funds would not misappropriate the money budgeted to take care of flood cases.
Mshelia regretted that those communities that are badly affected by flood in 2012 and 2022 have not benefited from any palliative to cushion the effects of flooding in those communities, especially those in the Niger Delta.
She explained that most times Nigeria benefits from climate funding as a support so that those who are affected can be reached.
Mshelia told participants to get involved and follow how monies are being spent by the government on the climate change effect.
“The impact of last year in Rivers State was huge as many communities suffered from the effect of the flooding as women, girls and people living with disabilities were badly and sadly affected with properties lost,” she noted.
CODE Promgramme Associate further said that their mission in Rivers State was to build capacity of community people and media who can ask questions and know the basic knowledge about climate change and what they can do in the area of mitigation and adaptation but most importantly, how to tract the money in respect to climate change by government agency in charge.
“We should demand any information concerning how money is being spent concerning the climate change,” she said.
“In 2012 and 2022 the flood was much and the Federal Government through the agency in charge of whether forecast only warned communities, but adequate steps were not taken to sensitise and educate the people especially those living in the rural communities, and there was no help in sight as it relates to medical help, food, accommodation, sanitation and security at the camps,” CODE representative stated.
Also speaking, the Programme Officer CODE, Nkem Ibeh told participants to look at coping mechanisms, especially the mitigation and adaptation plans that are in place to overcome the challenges of climate change.
“The community people have a huge task to play by calling on government at all levels to take action and do the needful. The government must take necessary steps to checkmate climate change,” Ibeh said.
In an interview shortly after the event, Vincent Gborsi, chairman of Duboro Community in Khana Local Government thanked the NGO for the knowledge shared but blamed government for their actions and in-actions concerning the flooding in the Niger Delta, noting that they are not always proactive.
He said that during flooding, people’s means of livelihood were always submerged and that after the flood the government would not assist on the new way of life.
Recall that the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) has been warning communities in flood-prone areas to move to higher ground before the flood comes but the welfare of the people during and after the flood and how to cope with the challenges have been a major issue among community members.