From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has raised the alarm over looming flood and warned people living on the flood plains, especially in Makurdi (Benue), Lokoja (Kogi State and Onitsha (Anambra State) to relocate.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) which said that River Niger, River Benue, Kainji Dam and the confluence of water bodies in Lokoja have all overflowed their various banks on Monday, August 8, 2016, however, assured that the relevant agencies were working assiduously to hold the floods, stressing that they shall in a matter of days be felt in many more locations across the country.
This was as the government launched a mobile application (WETIn) that would predict flood and warn farmers against its occurrences.
The initiative packaged by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in partnership with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is mainly to forecast flood along the Niger and Benue Rivers.
A document endorsed by the Director-General of hydrological agency, Mr. Moses Beckley indicated that the flooding situations at the upper reach of the River Niger portended imminent danger for Nigeria in the coming weeks and months.
“According to the information, if the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that flood situation similar to that of year 2012 may occur. It takes approximately nine days for the propagation of peak floods from Niamey to Nigeria (Jidere Bode, Kebbi State).
“The above observation transmitted to Nigeria is in tandem with the records from our monitoring stations at critical locations on rivers Niger and Benue, as well as their tributaries within the Nigerian portion of the Niger Basin. The water levels are rising gradually at most of our stations.”
NIHSA noted that although there was presently no water releases from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, the heavy rainfall being witnessed within the catchment of River Benue had caused the water level to be on the increase.
It stated that as of August 8, 2016, its monitoring station at Makurdi recorded an alarming 9.20 million height in water level, as against 9.17 million recorded on August 8, 2012.
This situation portends danger for Nigeria where there are many active tributaries to River Niger that contribute quite heavily to flooding incidents.
“At the Confluence in Lokoja, the water level as of 8th August, 2016, is 7.74 million, which has exceeded the 7.72 million recorded value on 8th August, 2012. This value is sending a strong signal to dwellers within the flood plains to relocate immediately to safer and higher grounds,” NIHSA said.
“Downstream of Lokoja at Onitsha, the water level has risen to an alarming height of 9.16m. This value is expected to increase with time. Therefore, residents along the Habour Bridge Head and industrial activities within the Habour Industrial Layout, Onitsha, should be on the lookout,” NIHSA stated.