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Nigerian officials try to blame citizens as country continues to face catastrophic floods

NIGERIAN officials have blamed the country’s citizens for ignoring warnings and “refusing to co-operate” as agencies struggle to deal with the impact of catastrophic floods.

Nigeria’s worst flooding in at least a decade has hit 33 of the country’s 36 states and has killed more than 600 people and seen a further 1.4 million displaced.

According to the Nigerian Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the devastating floods have destroyed nearly 200,000 homes and destroyed around 1.5 million acres of farmland.

Nigerian authorities have faced severe criticism for failing to provide relief for those affected by the floods.

President Muhammadu Buhari told his ministers this week that they had 90 days to produce a plan to prevent such a major disaster happening again.

But officials have defended their actions during the crisis.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja this week that people had ignored warnings from the government’s meteorological agency.

Mr Mohammed said: “I do not see any country that can prepare adequately, especially when citizens refuse to co-operate.”

“To say that the ministries were not prepared for this emergency or this disaster that was about to happen, it’s not correct,” Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq said. 

He added: “We did our best and we are still doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola said: “The focus is now on the “steps being taken to make life liveable, easy for the survivors, to commiserate with those who have lost people and property and to plan a way to make life better for tomorrow.”

“What we have lost yesterday is gone. Let’s stop recriminating about it,” he added.

While Africa has contributed least among continents to greenhouse gas emissions, its countries are some of the most severely affected by the effects of climate change.

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