Floods: Hydrological agency advises Nigerians to prepare, move to higher grounds
The Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Mr Clement Nze, has called on Nigerians living in flood-prone areas to be watchful and move to higher grounds.
Nze told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja, that this was necessary to prevent disasters and emergency situations that could occur in the coming months due to possible floods.
NAN recalls that the agency had predicted in its 2023 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), that 178 local government areas in 32 States and the FCT, were within the “Highly Probable Flood Risks Areas”.
According to him, all stakeholders have a duty to utilise the information in the AFO, to avert and minimise the adverse effects of flooding in Nigeria.
He said governments at all levels, including individuals, should adhere to the advisories issued by doing the needful.
“As early as middle of February, NIHSA released the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO). This is quite unprecedented when compared to previous years.
“Early warnings, matched with early action in terms of preparedness to reduce the negative impact of flood disasters, is what is expected of the sub-nationals.”
According to him, people living within the floodplains should be on the watch, advising them to move to higher grounds, and visit the floodplains during the day for normal economic activities.
“Those living by the banks of the rivers, especially the trans-boundary Rivers Niger and Benue, should keep closer watch on the periodic surge of the rivers.
“Coastal cities in the country have been placed on red alert with regards to coastal flooding,” Nze said.
The D-G said NIHSA’s mandate in flood-related issues was advisory and the agency had been providing avenues for discussions on issues such as the de-silting of major rivers.
This, he noted would deepen their carrying capacities, so as to reduce overflow of rivers which often resulted in flood disasters.
He said during the peak of flooding, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a directive that led to the inauguration of the Presidential Committee for the Development of a Comprehensive Action Plan for Preventing Flood Disasters in Nigeria.
Nze said all issues towards averting flood disasters, including de-silting of the country’s major rivers, have been articulated in the committee.
NAN reports that 32 states termed as Highly Probable Flood Risks Areas include; Adamawa, Abia, Akwa- Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross- River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Edo.
Others are; Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT.
By Tosin Kolade