Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned that Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Bayelsa States which are adjoining to River Niger will likely experience severe river flooding in September this year.
The agency, which issued the red alert in a statement issued yesterday by its Director-General, Clement Nze, said this is because Nigeria is located at the lowest portion of the Niger Basin.
Nze disclosed that the information received by the agency from the regional Niger Basin Authority (NBA) with headquarters in Niamey, had it that as at August 23, the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey was 6.60m.
He said the flood magnitude sighted in Niamey is expected to arrive in Nigeria through Kebbi State around September 6, 2020.
The DG advised the state and local governments, stakeholders and individuals that all hands must be on deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic this year.
He said blocked drainages and gutters should be cleared, river channels dredged and structures within the waterways and floodplains and flood paths pulled down.
The statement read: “The River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, has Nigeria at the lowest portion of the basin. This means that once the upper catchment of the basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding incident.
‘’As at today, the middle Niger of the Niger Basin made up of Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso and part of Mali has been flooded. The flood levels at the hydrological stations monitored in Niamey (Niger Republic) and Malanville (Benin Republic) have gotten to the ‘Red Alert Zone’.
‘’Operators of Kainji and Jebba Dams have long been alerted to take appropriate measures in the operation of the reservoirs. Accordingly, Kainji Dam is now spilling water at the rate of p86.4 million cubic metres per day. This means that communities down the Kainji and Jebba Dams could be flooded. The Shiroro Dam on Kaduna River is still impounding, though there is the possibility of spilling water in the weeks ahead.
‘’The month of July and early part of August 2020 witnessed unprecedented flooding incidents across the country. Some lives and property were lost as a result the incident. This was later followed by a period of dry spell, otherwise known as August Break, which lasted up to the third week of August 2020. The beginning of the last week of August 2020 witnessed the return of rains in most parts of the country. Expectedly, this will be accompanied by increasing saturation and wetness of the soil.”