The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) recently warned that 380 Local Government Areas in 35 states would experience flooding this year. According to the Director-General of the agency, Olayinka Ogunwale, the government had warned that residents in flood-prone areas should be relocated to safer areas.
The agency’s prediction was contained in its 2018 Annual Flood Outlook report, which was unveiled by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu. The report also predicted that flooding would be high in about 78 Local Government Areas. However, the agency assured that the situation will not be as severe as what the country had last year and 2012.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, also said that the government plans to put measures in place to manage high water flows from rivers as well as contain flooding across the country. Some of the measures to contain the flood, Adamu listed, include the construction of the Kashimbila Dam, the building of reservoirs, artificial lakes, buffers, barriers and irrigation. Other measures adopted by government to contain flooding, Adamu itemised, include flood mapping, flood vulnerability studies, flood sensitisation and awareness campaigns. All these measures are welcome provided that they are put in place before the flood begins.
We, therefore, urge the government to see to the timely execution of these measures that can prevent the flood in order to save lives and property. In executing these flood control measures, the Federal Government must carry the affected states and local governments along for the exercise to be more effective.
The warning from the NIHSA on flooding must be taken seriously by the state and local governments concerned. It is, indeed, a wake-up call to do something urgently before the onset of the flood. The warning on relocation of people living in flood-prone areas to safer zones should not be ignored. It is on record that past neglect of such warnings led to disastrous consequences, including the loss of lives and property worth millions of naira.
We do not want a repeat of such incident this year. The fact that 35 states and 380 Local Government Areas across the country will be affected shows the enormity of the impending flood. The federal, state and local governments must work in concert against perennial flooding in the country. Thus there is urgent need for a coordinated approach. We believe that a joint approach to control the annual flooding would be more effective to contain it. It is commendable that the country is collaborating with the Niger Basin Authority, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission and the Nigeria-Benin Joint Commission for effective management of water resources.
Since a similar warning was given in 2016 and 2017 respectively by the agency, it has become necessary that state and local governments in the predicted areas must take adequate steps to ensure that drainages are provided in all flood-prone areas to allow for easy drainage of excess rainfall.
There must be proper arrangement to provide adequate drainages in our urban cities and towns as a way of checking the perennial flooding in the country. The same can be replicated in rural areas that are flood-prone, too. Also, existing clogged drainages should be rehabilitated through removal of refuse and other wastes that block them. Canals can also be built to prevent flood. Flooding caused by rain water can be prevented by building ponds, storm drains, water retention basins and flood control dams.
All the states in the country should have flood-control measures to complement the effort of the federal government. Government should undertake massive enlightenment campaign on matters relating to flooding such as the causes as well as the control measures. Nigerians should desist from building on canals and other drainages.