By FUNMI OLASUPO
Abuja — Following the alert received from the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, on the potential threats of flooding of Kainji and Jebba dams during this year’s raining season, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, has warned those living on flood plains to vacate.
Ochekpe made the call at an interactive session with stakeholders drawn from Federal Ministries of Power and Environment, Kwara, Kogi and Niger states as well as National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
She said: “We have in 2012, experienced unprecedented flood which magnitude exceeded other floods in the recorded history of Nigeria and which resulted in loss of lives and property nationwide. The flooding was caused by the unusual high rainfall.”
Ochekpe urged people living in affected places to heed the prediction of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, warning that the country could not afford to have a repeat experience of 2012.
She said: “NIHSA by its mandate which requires scientific and technical collaboration with NIMET has therefore used these rainfall predictions on the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, and other hydrological factors to make flooding forecast for the year 2013 in the public presentation of the maiden edition of our 2013 Annual Flood Outlook for Nigerians.”
“It is pertinent to note that the global climate change and the persistent heavy rainfall may likely trigger off a recurrence of last year flooding. It has therefore become imperative to address this issue to forestall a future recurrence.”
Niger State Commissioner for Water Resources, Hajiya Hadiza Abdullahi, said people living around Kainji Dam should not be forced out of their abode, adding that what was necessary was to create awareness for the people.
She said: “Every year, we are on Kainji Dam talking to the people who are leaving around there. They are our people and they cannot be forced to move away but the only way it can be done is to create awareness that will make them to move out on their own volition.”
General Manager, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Engr. Ciromer Joseph, said there was need for the power company to be on the alert, following warnings from agencies in charge of flood control.