Agency raises flooding alert as eight countries release water

Eight upstream countries of the River Niger Basin are to start experiencing flooding from August and could release water which flows downstream the basin where Nigeria is located, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency announced on Wednesday.

Based on this, NIHSA warned of a high possibility of widespread flooding in Nigeria as the upper catchment of the River Niger Basin would be flooded and the water from the neighbouring nations would move downwards into Nigeria.

The Director-General, NIHSA, Clement Nze, who raised the concern at a press briefing in Abuja, however, stated the agency would monitor developments in the basin.

He said, “Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries, namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

“Our country is located at the lowest portion of the basin. This means that once the upper catchment of the basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding incident. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year.”

Nze added, “The agency is monitoring the developments as we approach these critical months.

“Also, the agency will continue to monitor the developments on River Benue sub-basin and keep close contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.”

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The NIHSA boss, however, noted that at this period of the year, impoundment of water into the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon was still in progress.

He said, “The purpose of this press briefing is to call the attention of the general public, especially the states and Local Government councils to intensify and step up efforts towards averting flood-related disasters in their domains as the nation gradually gets into the peak of flooding season.

“The peak of flooding is usually during the months of July, August, September and early October. Meanwhile, several states have already experienced high degree of flooding incidents with the attendant destructions accompanying them.”

As early as April this year, some states had started experiencing flooding in various degrees.

NIHSA observed that flood disasters had occurred in Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Ogun, Delta, Taraba, Yobe, Ekiti, Borno, Ondo and Katsina.

“This is quite early in the day. It must be pointed out that virtually all the flood incidents above were caused by poor drainage systems as localised rainfall generated the flash/urban flooding, while river flooding and coastal flooding are yet to set in,” Nze stated. PUNCH

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