The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency on Wednesday advised the three tiers of government and citizens across the country to prepare against impending devastating floods in 2021.
Director-General, NIHSA, Clement Nze, who gave the advice at a press conference in Abuja, said this was because Nigeria was at the receiving end of disastrous floods among the nine countries of the River Niger Basin.
He said, “There is still time for states/LGAs (Local Government Areas) and individuals to take necessary steps to avert or minimise the disastrous effects of flood in the year 2021.
“As the country gradually steps into the 2021/2022 Hydrological Year in the River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mall, Niger and Nigeria, it means that Nigeria is gradually inching towards the peak rainy season with its attendant flood incidents.
“Nigeria’s geographical location downstream of all the countries in this Basin places it at the receiving end of disastrous floods and pollution from all the countries upstream.”
Nze said persistent flooding and flood disasters had become an annual event in Nigeria since 2012 when the country experienced its worst flood disaster in recent history.
In 2012, hundreds of lives were lost, thousands of citizens rendered homeless with property losses running into billions of naira.
“It is in the light of the above that NIHSA wishes to urge the states and the general public to take necessary measures to prevent the ugly flooding menace of the past years,” Nze said.
The agency recommended that the three tiers of government should consider clearing of drainage systems and canals and also embark on projects for improving hydraulic conveyance of surface run-offs during peak flows.
It called for the removal of refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels and on all avenues for river runoffs.
NIHSA encouraged people living along the waterways and those having socioeconomic activities on flood plains to relocate to safe areas before the peak of the rains.