As Nigeria enters the peak of the rainy season, the director-general of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engr. Clement Nze, has urged state governments not to let down their guard in containing flooding and issues related to it.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Science Nigeria, the expert urged state governments to adopt measures that would ensure their states do not experience a flood disaster in the heat of the season.
Recall the agency on May 6, 2021, made public its prediction for the 2021 annual flood outlook (AFO) putting about 121 local government areas cutting across 28 states of the federation and another 302 local government areas which cut across the entire country on red alert on different degrees of flooding.
Nze, who explained that the agency’s role is primarily an advisory one, said state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, had been duly notified of the projected flooding disaster, advising they should be prepared to tackle the onset of torrential rainfall from translating from potential hazard to disaster.
“The peak of flooding in Nigeria is usually between the months of July, August, September and early parts of October. There was a period of dry spell in the month of June and even late May, and we keep drumming it into the ears of Nigerians that nobody should go home and rest, that the floods are yet to come and we are expecting that as we step into the month of July the rainy season will step up with attendant flooding. So, the states should be prepared. Letters have been written to each of the governors in Nigeria with names of specific LGAs in their own states they should watch out for,” he said.
Giving recommendations, he called for regular cleaning of the drainages, removal of structures on flood plains, desilting of smaller rivers within the localities to increase the carrying capacity of run-off water, sensitization of citizens on proper disposal of waste among others.
The highly probable flood risk states according to the 2021 AFO predictions include Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
“In addition, some coastal states such as Bayelsa, Delta and Lagos are expected to experience coastal flooding due to rise in sea level and tidal surge and this could impact fishing, habitation and coastal transportation. On account of poor drainage systems, flash and urban floods are expected to occur in some locations such as Birnin Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Gombe, Yola, Makurdi, Abuja, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Benin City, Oshogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar, Owerri, Kano, and other major cities,” it added.