The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) Says some states will witness flooding this year and urge them to prepare. The forecast provides information that enables states and some Nigerians living in flood plains to brace up for likely flooding.
The Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) which was initiated in 2013 by the Federal Government following the 2012 flood disaster that wreaked havoc in the country, destroying thousands of lives and properties worth millions. Since 2013, NIHSA has continually issued flood warnings and alerts to states.
The country has been at the receiving end of excess water from neighboring countries because of River Niger which traverses about seven countries and River Benue, both passing through Nigeria.
However, despite their flood forecasts and alert, the country has continuously lost lives and properties to flood every year. This is largely due to noncompliance with the flood alert and warnings of the agency as well as bad environmental practices by Nigerians.
For example, in 2018, about 441,251 people were affected by flood in about 50 Local Government Areas, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
About 192 people sustained injuries as a result of the flood with a total of 108 lives lost to the disaster. With Kogi (118,199), Kebbi (94,991), Anambra (64,331) and Niger state (51,719) most people affected.
This year, the agency has again issued another alert for states and Nigerians, saying that there is a probability that a total of 600 Local Government Areas will witness flooding when the rainy season begins in full.
In its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook, which was unveiled in Abuja by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, on Tuesday, warned that the disaster would emanate from either excessive rainfall or release of water from countries around Rivers Niger and Benue.
It said the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are expected to experience different levels of flooding.
NIHSA’s Director-General, Clement Nze, who broke the news at the unveiling of the AFO report in Abuja, the nation’s capital, said some states may have severe flooding due to a rise in the water levels of Rivers Niger and Benue.
Nze also said major cities, like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Benin, Makurdi, Kaduna, Sokoto and Ibadan, would witness urban flooding as a result of heavy rainfalls this year.
He said: “The three categories of vulnerability include the highly probable flood risk areas – to be experienced in 74 LGAs; probable flood risk areas – to be experienced in 279 LGAs, and low flood risk areas – to be experienced in 421 LGAs.
“All the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory are expected to experience different levels of flooding.
“I can say that we have almost 600 local government areas in Nigeria that could be under the threat of floods in 2019, going by our predictions.
“No person should build structures within the flood plains. People should clean their drainages.
“States and local government areas are encouraged to desilt river channels and canals and construct/create a buffer (or detention basins) in their constituencies to collect run-off waters.
“What is left for Nigeria and stakeholders is to take very seriously our predictions to avert it (urban flooding).”
He stated that the predicted probable flood area coverage in 2019 is expected to be lower than that of 2018.
The DG stated that river flooding was expected in the Niger, Benue, Sokoto-Rima, Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Niger Delta, Komadougu-Yobe and Ogun-Osun River Basins.
Nze said coastal flooding was likely in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Ondo and Lagos states due to the rise in sea level and tidal surge.
“River flooding is expected in Niger, Benue, Sokoto–Rima, Anambra-Imo, Cross River, Niger Delta, Komadougu-Yobe and Ogun-Osun River basins, while coastal flooding is likely in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Ondo and Lagos states due to a rise in sea level and tidal surge.
“Flash and urban flooding are forecasted to occur in Ibadan, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Kaduna, Yola, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Hadejia and other major cities due to poor drainage systems,” he added.
The agency said that since it began its prediction in 2013, there had been a decrease in the flood disaster. For example, the agency said that in 2013, it recorded 70 per cent success in its prediction. According to NIHSA, between 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, it recorded 63 per cent, 55 per cent, 53 per cent and 53 per cent successes, adding that its prediction in 2018 recorded 53 per cent success.
It attributed the fall in the degree of manifestation of flood disaster from 2013 to 2018 to positive response measures that were put in place by the government, stakeholders and the citizens.