Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on Monday, said that flooding in some coastal states of the country, has assumed different dimension that requires national urgent response.
It said the situation has assumed a status of national disaster and must be tackled as such.
NEMA’s spokesman, Sani Datti, said its Director General, Mustapha Maihaja, had considered the reports from across the affected states and declared that the situation has assumed a “critical dimension” that requires the attention of government and all stakeholders.
The emergency response agency had, on Saturday, raised the alarm that water level at Confluence of River Niger and Benue, in Lokoja, has risen to significant 10.98 meters which were one of signals that heralded the 2012 devastating flood across Nigeria.
It also confirmed that the flood situation might get worst some states in few days time with all indications and signals that Lagdo dam in Cameroon will be discharged soon.
The NEMA boss confirmed to journalists, in Abuja, that stakeholders involved in the national emergency management services have assessed the water situation and confirmed that Nigeria is about to experience a repeat of 2012 flood experience.
He said, “Nigeria Meteorology Agency (NIMET) confirmed that there would be continuous rain in the north, central and southern states.
“Similarly, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) also reported that the Confluence of River Niger and Benue, at Lokoja, has risen to 10.98 meters.
“It is a confirmation that the level of water is on significant increase.
“But with the threatening inflow at the Lagdo Dam, Cameroonian authorities said it would be forced to discharge the water, and the effect would be extremely devastating.”
He said that as at end of last week, the water level at Lagdo Dam was 21.4 meters and the highest it could accommodate is 21.6 meters, meaning that 0.2 meters was left for the Dam to be discharged.”
To this end, the NEMA boss said that stakeholders have agreed for the agency to activate its National Contingency Plan and nine states, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Edo, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers and Bayelsa states would receive increased response and humanitarian attention from NEMA.
He disclosed that the National Contingency Plan gave NEMA legal backing to activate five Emergency Operational Centers (EOCs), across Nigeria to professionally handle issues, expectedly, would arise from the natural disaster.
EOC A, according to him, will handle operations in Kebbi, Niger and Kwara states. EOC B will be in charge of Edo and Kogi states, and the EOC C will oversee operations in Anambra and Delta.
“EOC D will also oversee operations in Benue, Adamawa and Taraba states, while EOC E has been mandated to take care of operations in Rivers and Bayelsa. NEMA headquarters will coordinate the entire operations.”