…blames State govts, individuals for losses
By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, Monday, disclosed that over 100 Local Government Areas, LGAs, in 33 States have been affected by the current flood crisis ravaging parts of the country.
This was made known by the Director-General, NIHSA, Engr. Clement Nze, at a media briefing over the state of the nation in regards to flood update across the country.
According to Nze states affected by the various degrees of flooding as of today (Monday) include Kastina, 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, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Ekiti, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
He further stated that based by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet’s, 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction of late-onset and early cessation rains in the country, it is expected that by September 26, 2019, rains will cease in Kastina and Sokoto States, but will continue till November and early December in the Southern parts of the country. Hence, “This means that the States in the South should brace up for more flooding incidents.”
He also explained that information received on September 6, 2019, from the headquarters of the Niger Basin Authority, NBA, in Niamey, Niger Republic, which confirmed steady rise into the Red Alert zone up to 6.26m of the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey. Flood alerts are graded as Yellow Alert: 5.50m-5.80m; Orange Alert 5.80m-6.20m; and Red Alert: 6.20m and above.
He said the development was promptly communicated to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu when the flood was sighted in the Niger Republic and was expected to arrive the Nigerian border through Kebbi State around September 16, 2019 that would find its way down to Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Rivers, and Bayelsa States.
He said: “The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, has been closely monitoring the many flooding incidents taking place across the country with the attendant loss of lives and property. It is very unfortunate that the flooding incidents are manifesting just as predicted by NIHSA.
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“This means that the relevant stakeholders, especially individuals and state governments, have failed to heed to the warnings issued before the onset of flooding season in the country. The Agency is concerned about the non-adherence to flood predictions for 2019, thereby resulting in avoidable incidents leading to loss of lives, property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands.”
The NIHSA boss further stated that “The localized urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country are expected to continue due to high rainfall density of long duration, rainstorms, blockage of the drainage system and poor urban planning resulting in the erection of structures within the floodplains and waterways.”
According to him, there could be the possible release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon as the water was still impounded on September 16, 2019.
“It is not yet certain if there will be a release of water from the dam in 2019. However, River Benue is rising steadily owing to local rainfall with attendant heavy inflows from the tributaries of the river. This will likely cause river flooding in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue States”, he added.
He also advised states and local governments to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drainages, culverts and other waterways as floods from the upper catchment of the Niger Basin has arrived the country.
According to him the geographical location of Nigeria is like a basin that collects water from rainfall, which she is precariously located downstream of eight other countries that make up the Niger Basin including Guinea Conakry, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Chad and Cameroon. The inflows of flood from these countries usually arrive in Nigeria anytime in late August and early September this year.