Laleye Dipo in Minna
Communities in the downstream of the three hydro electric dams of Niger State have been advised to take proactive measures to avoid the negative effects of the flooding predicted for September 2019.
The warning became necessary following reports that the rains would be at its peak between the end of August and the end of September which could result in the spilling of water from the dams.
Experts from the academia, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency gave the warning at the 2019 Stakeholders Flood Sensitization and Awareness Workshop organised by the North South Power Company, owners of the Shiroro dam on Wednesday.
Specifically, the Assistant General Manager, Hydrological and Dam Maintenance of the company, Mr Bola Akanbi, said: “We will have high magnitude of flood between August and September. Shiroro should brace up for this high magnitude flood this year.”
Akanbi said the company was not trying to raise unnecessary alarm but said: “We have to make this known so that you will prepare for what is likely to happen.”
The Deputy Director for Disaster, Risk and Management Studies of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Shamsideen Ojoye, in a presentation, also warned that 20 per cent of the population would be at risk of various flood patterns this year.
They alerted the people to the fact that weather predictions in the country had in the last three years have come to pass and as such, people should not take these predictions for granted.
The experts therefore asked communities in the riverine areas to commence strategic movements to the uplands, adding that heads of families should also educate their wards not to underestimate flood water by swimming in it, just as they also asked drivers to stop driving in flood waters as such flood could wash off their vehicles.
In her presentation, the Head of NEMA Wagami Lydia Madu, who was represented by Zaynab Ndanusa from the Niger State office of the organisation, noted that the magnitude of the flood in 2012 was higher than similar incident in 2018 as a result of the sensitisation of the people and therefore asked that village to village enlightenment be carried out to mitigate the disaster this year.
Madu disclosed that in 2012, 363 people were killed by flood across the country with 3,871,053 displaced and 5,851 injured.
According to her, in 2018, 131,432 flood victims were recorded in Niger State with 768 of them injured and 49 people dead, adding that in Kwara State, 42,937 people were affected by the 2018 flood, with 942 injured and 18 deaths recorded.
In a speech to the workshop, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, asked the managers of the three dams in the state to device early warning mechanism that would alert the people of impending flood.
Represented by Ambassador Haruna Manta, the governor also asked the managers of the dams to implement policies for harnessing excess water from the dams for agricultural purposes.
A communique is expected at the end of the workshop.