Many Nigerians have called for the federal government to declare a national emergency in the country following the recent flooding that has wrecked infrastructures, washed away farmlands, destroyed livestocks and resulted in the death of residents. 

A summary report by the federal government disclosed that of the 31 out of the 36 states affected by the flood so far, Nigeria has recorded 603 deaths, 1,302,589 displaced persons, and over 108,393 hectares of farmlands destroyed across the country. Again, the federal government also stated that the flood crisis injured 2,407 persons at the time of this report. 

In light of these, Nigerians including Bayelsa state Governor, Douye Diri have urged the Federal Government to declare a national emergency on the flooding crisis in the country that has halted socio-economic activities to show the seriousness of the crisis. This breeds a question of when can the federal government declare a national emergency?

National emergency 
According to Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, a state of emergency would be declared in either of the following situation:

  • Nigeria is at war.
  • Nigeria is in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war.
  • There is a breakdown of public order and public safety in any part of the country.
  • There is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety.
  • There is an occurrence or imminent danger of the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity.
  • There is any danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of Nigeria. 

Constitutionally, the Nigerian president has the power to declare a state of emergency in any part of the country by publishing the order in the official government gazette. However, the National Assembly must ratify the publication and pass a resolution passed by two-thirds of the members of both houses (House of Senate and House of Representatives). 

Does flooding pass for a national emergency?
Almost certainly not does the current flooding pass for a national emergency irrespective of the damage, the flooding is leaving in its wake. Although, analysts have named the flood as the worst ever, seeing it has caused more damage than that of 2012, there is no complete fulfillment of either of the aforementioned situations. 

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