FG Raises the Alarm over Imminent Floods in Some States

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned members of the public to expect more floods in the months of September and October.

The Director General of the NIHSA, Mr. Clement Nze, who gave the warning yesterday at a press briefing in Abuja, said that the current flood level sighted in Niamey poses a dangerous threat to the country.

Nze explained that any release of excess water from the dams in countries upstream Rivers Niger and Benue this year would have more negative impacts on Nigeria, which is located downstream of countries in the Niger Basin.

He identified the highly vulnerable states as Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa.

He said that the flood that ravaged Kebbi State just about a week ago left so many damages and noted that the current flooding situation called for vigilance on the part of all the stakeholders.

The director general called the states and local governments as well as multi-national companies and public-spirited individuals to join hands to save the country from the consequences of “twin pandemic” (COVID-19 and flood) in the year 2020.

Nze warned: ‘’The rains are finally here. The volume of river flows on our river is surging and river channels could no longer accommodate significant runoff as floodplains, which traditionally serve the alluvial plains and are rich in agricultural productivity, lost its retention capacity to give way to flooding of adjacent lands.

“Farmlands and crop yields are being lost to furry of floodwaters, livestock and ecosystem species are diminishing while hope for livelihood hang in the balance due to monumental economic losses.

‘’As a matter of fact, all the states of the federation have suffered several degrees of flooding since June 2020. The danger is not yet over. Information received from the regional Niger Basin Authority (NBA) by NIHSA, has it that as at 7.30am today September 10, 2020, the River Niger flood level in Niamey, Niger Republic, attained an unprecedented level of 7.02m (702cm). This is a far cry from the value of 6.60m which I reported in my last press briefing of August 25, 2020.

“Noting that the Red Alert Warning Zone in Niamey is 6.20m and above, the current flood level sighted in Niamey poses a dangerous threat to the country, Nigeria, which is at the Lower portion of Niger Basin within this month of September and October.’

‘’Based on the report of the expected flood coming down from Niamey and the projected contributions by the inland rivers, both Kainji and Jebbo Dams built on River Niger have continued to spill water downstream. The Shiroro Dam on River Koduno, with reservoir level at 381.48m as at 9.00am today, has been maintaining a regulated spilling into the River Niger.

The effect of all these is that the communities in the states adjoining River Niger will continue to be highly inundated by River Flooding as is being witnessed in the recent time.

‘’In addition to monitoring the flow on the River Niger System, the agency is also keeping close tab on the developments on River Benue sub-basin and has maintained close contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin. Recent information received by the agency from the Cameroon indicated that the Lagdo Dam is still impounding water.’’