The Director General of Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clement Nze on Monday took a swipe at the state governments and various stakeholders for failing to heed the agency’s flood warnings issued before the onset of flooding season in the country.
Nze at a press briefing in Abuja lamented that the non-adherance to flood predictions had resulted in avoidable flooding incidents leading to loss of lives, property and disruption of economic activities.
He said: “More than 100 local government areas within the states listed below are counting their losses. States so far affected by various degrees of flooding are: Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kwara, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Anambra, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo. Abia, Cross River, Bomo, Jigawa, Kano, Ekiti, Oyo and FCT.
“Most of the flooding incidents taking place across the country were urban flooding which resulted mainly from local and also coastal flooding. A lot of lives and property were lost, including dislocation of thousands of Nigerians from their ancestral homes, with the attendant loss of livelihood.”
Acccording to him, Nigerians should brace up for river flooding which is expected sometime in mid-September.
He explained that Nigeria was precariously located downstream of eight other countries that make up the Niger Basin, whereby inflows of flood from these countries usually arrive Nigeria any time late August and early September of every year and often causes river flooding.
Nze added that river flooding as well as coastal flooding have come into play as floods from the upper catchment of the Niger basin are already on the country.
“As at today 16th September, 2019, the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still impounding water. It is not yet certain if there will be release of water from the dam in 2019.
“However, River Benue is rising steadily owing lto ocal rainfall with attendant heavy inflows from the tributaries of the river. This will likely cause river flooding in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states.”
Speaking further, he revealed that there has been a steady rise in the flood level of River Niger with the attendant flooding downstream the dams.
Information received September, 6, 2019 from the headquarters of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) in Niamey, Niger Republic, confirmed steady rise into the Red Alert Zone up to 6.26m of the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey, he stressed.
The flood sighted in Niger Republic, he pointed out, was expected to arrive the Nigerian border through Kebbi State around September 16, 2019, and would finally find its way down to Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Rivers and Bayelsa States.
This development, according to him, has been communicated to President Muhammadu Buhari, state governments and various stakeholders, especially, the operators of Kainji and Jebba Dams, for necessary actions.
He, however, encouraged states and local governments to endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drainages, culverts and other waterways.