Flooding: Jigawa, Lagos Worst Hit, as FG Puts States on Red Alert

Folalumi Alaran in Abuja 

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has called on state and local governments to intensify and step up efforts towards averting flood-related disasters in their domains. 

The agency said the call became necessary as the nation is in the peak of flooding season up to early October.

Addressing journalists in Abuja Wednesday, the Director General of the agency, Clement Nze, named Jigawa as the worst hit state with flooding, noting that about 16 local government areas have been affected with more than 50 lives lost, with properties and infrastructure damaged.

According to him, Lagos is next with 14 LGAs and many casualties recorded, adding that other flood hit states included Nasarawa (Keffi), Anambra (Onitsha), Imo (Owerri) and Abia (Aba), among others. 

He pointed out that virtually all the flood incidents were caused by overflow of silted Rivers and poor drainage system as a result of localised rainfall that generated flash/urban flooding in the urban areas and metropolis. 

Nze recalled that as early as April this year, some states had begun to experience flooding, noting that as at today, flood disasters have occurred in many states. 

He stated: “As at today, both Kainji and Jebba Dams on River Niger are still impounding water into their reservoirs. Shiroro Dam on River Kaduna is equally impounding water. No release of water from any of the dams within and outside Nigeria.

“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. The country is located 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. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is between August and October of every year. The Agency is closely monitoring the situation as we are in these critical months. As we speak, the flow of River Niger at Niamey, Niger Republic is within the normal limits.”

The NIHSA boss said the agency was also monitoring developments on the River Benue sub-basin and keeping close contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.

“It should be noted that at this period of the year, impoundment of water into the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is still in progress. Under normal circumstances, it is usually around the second week of September that the dam reservoir could approach an elevation of 213m. Spillage of water can only take place once the reservoir level approaches 216m. Therefore, no release of water from Lagdo Dam has taken place as at today. The situation is being closely monitored by the Agency,” he said. 

Nze highlighted some prevention methods to avert flooding, which according to him, included: “Clearing of blocked drainage systems and canals. Removal of refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.  

“Relocate to higher grounds people living along the water-ways and those carrying out socio-economic activities on the flood plains.  Improved system for flood monitoring, flood forecasting and flood early warning. 

“Effective and efficient operational procedure for dams and reservoirs and maintenance of other hydraulic and water infrastructure across the country. 

“Construction of dykes, flood-walls, buffer dams, detention basins and water retaining structures. Carrying out River Training activities and maintenance of drainages by the removal of silt and sediment deposits in rivers to improve their conveyance capacities and from dams, lakes and reservoirs to increase their storage capacities for the containment of the incoming floodwaters. 

“Construction of weirs, small reservoirs on tributaries of major rivers, streams and rivers for conservation of floodwater to be used during the dry season thereby preventing desert encroachment, increasing irrigation for food crop production, improvement of grassland areas, nomadic settlement, peace and sustainable development. 

“Intensification of soil conservation measuring techniques on the drainage areas to reduce soil erosion and increase ecosystem protection among others. 

“Enforcement of Town Planning Codes in the country to allow for the construction of houses, and drainage structures as outlined by Town Planners. Constantly freeing the waterways from obstructions and provision of adequate refuse dumping facilities. Done in Abuja seven per cent September 2022.”

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