The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has raised the alarm, urging the southern states to expect more flood incidents due to high rainfall and intensity of long duration.
The Director General of the agency, Clement Nze, gave the warning in Abuja yesterday while updating journalists on 2019 flood early warning information.
Nze also said relevant stakeholders, especially individuals and state governments have failed to heed the warning issued before the onset of flooding season across the country.
“Going by the prediction by Nigerian Meteorological Agency`s (NiMet), during the 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction, which they said there will be late onset of rainy season in Nigeria this year and early cessation.
“In others words, rainfall will start very late and will end early, it is expected that by 26 of this month, rainfall will cease in Katsina and Sokoto and begin to move down to the south.
“But in the southern parts of Nigeria rainfall will still continue to fall up till November and even December in places like Bayelsa, Rivers even Delta will be experiencing rainfall up to late November.
“In that case, this is the main reason why we are gathered here today; Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, has been closely monitoring the many flooding incidents taking place across the country with the attendant loss of lives and property.
“This means that relevant stakeholders, especially individuals and state governments, failed to heed our 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 flooding incidents, leading to loss of lives, property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands.
Nze said as at September 16, the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still impounding water, adding that it was not yet certain if there would be release of water from the dam in 2019.
He said River Benue was rising steadily, due to local rainfall with attendant heavy inflows from the tributaries of the river.
He explained that the steady rising would likely cause river flooding in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states.
“States so far affected by various degrees of flooding are Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kwara Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Kogi, and Nasarawa.
“Also, Anambra, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Abia, Cross River, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Ekiti and Oyo, including FCT.
“More than 100 local government areas within the states listed below are counting their losses,’’ he said.
Nze, however, warned the states in the south to brace up for more flooding incidents.
He noted that the localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities were expected to continue due to high rainfall intensity of long duration.
The director general said that blockage of drains, rainstorms and poor urban planning resulting in erection of structures within the floodplain and waterways, are causing more flooding in the areas.
According to him, river flooding as well as coastal flooding have come to stay as floods from the upper catchment of the Niger Basin had arrived the country.
“Therefore, state and local governments should endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drains, culverts and other waterways,’’ he said.