Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has advised five states to be on red alert against severe flooding. The states are Edo, Delta, Anambra, Rivers and Bayelsa.
Director General of NIHSA, Clement Onyeaso, gave the advice at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday.
According to Onyeaso, the river flooding that occurred in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Kogi would still find its way through these states before emptying into the ocean.
He advised the states to identify the communities bordering River Niger and make adequate plans for timely evacuation of people to safe and higher grounds in the event of flooding.
He said that the cause of the current flooding in the country was as result of release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.
“After several weeks of denials, the Cameroonian authorities responsible for the operation confirmed to NIHSA that it released water from the dam.
“In any case, it should be noted that this year is an exceptional year in terms of rainfall in the sub-region because it continued to rain up to the usual periods,” he said.
He said the current development of non disclosure of information on operation of Lagdo Dam by the Cameroonians authorities was contrary to the spirit and letter of the MOU signed between the two countries in 2015.
“The MOU was signed after the 2012 devastated flooding incidents in Nigeria, which was caused by the release of excess water from this Cameroonian dam.
“Among other requirements on the MOU is that Cameroonian authorities should give adequate and prior notice to Nigeria before release of excess water downstream of the dam.
“The non-existence of a dam within the Nigerian portion of the Benue sub-basin makes Nigeria vulnerable in the event of sudden or unannounced released of water from the Lagdo Dam,” Onyeaso said.
He said that the Cameroonian authorities went ahead on October 10 to release water from Lagdo Dam without notifying the Nigerian government.
Onyeaso said that, the flood level on River Benue measured at Markurdi is 11.28 metres as against a much higher level of 9.01 metre that occurred on November 4, 2012.
He explained that the corresponding flood levels downstream of the confluence of the two rivers in Lokoja are as follows 10.97 metres as of today and 8.04 metres occurred on November 04, 2012.
“Year 2012 is taken as the reference year considering the magnitude of flood that occurred that year. As you can seen from the above figures, the flood level in each hydrological station as at today is far above the corresponding value in 2012.”
Onyeaso said that both Kainji and Jebba dams on River Niger were still had excess water downstream, adding that this had invariably contributed to the rising level of River Niger in Lokoja.
NIHSA is the most active, responsible and visible agency of the government at the upstream sector in the prediction and issuance of early warning flood alerts in the country.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, has decried the indiscriminate setting up of slums in urban centres, saying it is contributing to environmental problems.
It also attributed urban migration, industrialisation, inadequate planning, insufficient resources to effectively manage waste generated, to the problem.
Minister of Environment, Mahmood Abubakar, stated this yesterday in Nasarawa State at the commissioning and handing over of community-based waste management project in Karu Local Government.
“The menace posed by municipal solid waste in Nigeria, particularly in our urban areas is one of the gravest environmental challenges facing the country. The problem is exacerbated by urban migration, over population, emergence of urban slums, industrialisation, changes in consumption patterns, inadequate planning, inadequate resources and facilities to sustainably manage waste that are being generated.
“The problem persists as all manners of wastes are disposed-off indiscriminately on open and unlined pits, drainage systems, water bodies and in fact on any available space.
“More worrisome is the fact that both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes including hospital wastes are disposed-off in dumpsites and burnt open|y. These practices pose great risk to the health of our citizens and the environment,” he said.
Abubakar, disclosed that the ministry is reviewing policies and guidelines to ensure that wastes generated are properly managed.
“My ministry is equally reviewing existing waste management instruments and putting in place new ones including policies, regulations, technical guidelines and standards to ensure that the wastes generated in the country are managed in environmentally sound and sustainable manner, “ he said.
While receiving the project, Governor Abdullahi Suleiman, called on the Federal Government to sensitise Nigerians on how to generate wealth through wastes disposal.