FG writes govs as agency predicts flooding in 31 states


•FG agency lists LGs in A’Ibom, Lagos, Adamawa, Ogun, Benue, 26 others as high flood risk areas

•Benue demolishes riverside buildings, Lagos directs residents to relocate, Sokoto, Edo, others begin campaigns

The Federal Government has written at least 31 governors informing them of the impending flooding in their states between April and November this year.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Utsev, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook for the country.

At the event, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, an agency of the Federal Government, disclosed that a total of 148 local government areas in Lagos, Kano, Delta, and 28 other states had been categorised as high flood-risk areas.

Also, in preparation for the impending flood, various state governments told The PUNCH on Tuesday that they would demolish buildings on river channels, relocate residents, and clear drainages to prevent flooding.

Commenting on the general highlights of the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook the water resources minister said some areas in 31 states were categorised as high flood-risk locations, while others in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory would witness moderate flood.

He said, “The 2024 Annual Flood Outlook shows that part of 148 Local Government Areas in 31 states of the federation fall within the high flood-risk areas, while part of 249 LGAs in 36 states of the federation and the FCT fall within the moderate flood-risk areas.

“The high flood-risk states are Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe.”

On the seasonal outlook, Utsev pointed out that the high flood-risk areas would experience the situation between April and November 2024.

“The level of floods in this category is expected to be high in terms of impact on the population, agriculture, livelihoods, livestock and infrastructure, and the environment.

“Part of 72 LGAs across the country fall within the high flood-risk areas in April, May, and June; while part of 135 LGAs in July, August, and September; and part of 44 LGAs in October and November 2024 are within the high flood-risk zones,” he stated.

For the moderate flood risk, he explained that areas in this category would witness moderate flooding between April and November 2024.

“Moderate impact level floods are expected in parts of 63 LGAs within April, May, and June; and in parts of 221 LGAs within July, August, and September; and parts of 100 LGAs within October and November 2024,” Utsev stated.

The minister further noted that flash and urban floods would be experienced in urban city centres across the country.

“Among these are Abakaliki, Abeokuta, Abuja, Asaba, Benin City, Birnin-Kebbi, Calabar, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Makurdi, Nguru, Onitsha, Oshogbo, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Warri and Yola,” Utsev stated.

He said Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, and Ondo would experience coastal flooding due to the rise in sea level and tidal surge, adding that this would impact fishing, wildlife habitation, and river navigation.

FG informs govs

The water resources minister said he had informed the various state governors of the possible flood situation that would be experienced in their respective states this year.

He said this was to ensure the governors make the necessary preparations to effectively mitigate the negative impact of floods in their states.

“To give the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook publication the urgency it deserves, I have notified all the state governors on the level of flooding to expect in their respective states.

“Letters and AFO publications (with maps) have been dispatched to the governors while the exact LGAs to be affected in each state and the expected level of the flood are detailed accordingly.

“I, therefore, appeal to the state governors to give the information in AFO the attention it requires and to act swiftly to contain effects of any flooding incidence to forestall any chaotic situation,” Utsev stated.

On his part, the Director-General of the NIHSA, Clement Nze, urged stakeholders, policymakers, and relevant federal and state government departments and agencies to take note of the information contained in this 2024 AFO and prepare in advance.

“While the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency is doing its best to carry out aggressive sensitisation and awareness campaigns, we must all join hands to keep clean our environment, waterways (i.e. drainages, gutters, etc.) and flood paths, and maintain proper refuse disposal and waste management practices to reduce the incidence of flooding,” he stated.

Nze explained that floods remained the most frequent natural disaster in Nigeria, with devastating impacts on the poor and the vulnerable populations who live along river courses and depend on the productivity of the river ecosystem and the fertile floodplains for their livelihoods.

“Therefore, flood forecasting and flood early warning are among the most effective flood risk management strategies to minimise the negative impacts of the flood on lives and property, agriculture industrial productivity, infrastructure, communication facilities, interruption of highway traffic and river navigation, and general socio-economic wellbeing,” he stated.

The NIHSA boss observed that Nigeria, like the rest of the world, had been experiencing flood disasters with varying degrees of severity, with 2012 as one of the most devastating on record.

“So far, the 2022 flood has been tagged as the worst recorded flood in the country in terms of the magnitude of its impact.

“The total economic damage to residential and non-residential buildings, infrastructure, productive sector and farmlands from the 2022 floods was estimated at $6.68bn by The World Bank Global Rapid Post-Disaster Damage Estimation Assessment,” he stated.

He noted that to address the perennial flood disasters in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the National Economic Council Ad-hoc Committee on Flood Mitigation, Adaptation, Preparedness and Response.

Nze stated that the council’s task was to proactively develop a roadmap to enhance Nigeria’s flood mitigation, preparedness, adaptation, and response capabilities.

Sokoto awareness campaign

In Sokoto State, a top official of the state Emergency Management Agency, Mustapha Abubakar, confirmed that the agency had already created awareness in some of the communities mentioned ahead of the rainy season this year to prepare against possible flooding.

He said the state government had done all that is necessary to tackle such an incident if it eventually arises, adding that the agency has always prepared ahead of time for such a forecast.

On its part, the Benue State Government said it

had begun preparations to avert any possible flooding.

The state Commissioner for Water Resources, Environment, and Climate Change, Odoh Ugwu, said the government had set up a committee in preparation to curtail flood disasters in the state.

According to him, the government has begun to create awareness about the dangers of flooding and for people living along riversides to relocate.

He pointed out that the team set up by the state government would assess structures erected along riversides and possibly demolish them.

The Plateau State Government urged residents to be on full alert and vacate flood-prone areas to avoid any disaster that may arise from the impending floods.

The state Commissioner for Information, Musa Ashoms, said the people needed to be aware and take proactive measures in their interest.

He said the safety of Plateau State residents was of paramount importance and that the state government had taken proactive measures to avert any untoward incident.

Rivers map higher grounds

The Rivers State Government said it had set up a standing committee aimed at averting any possible disaster by floods.

It also said various local governments had identified higher grounds to move people living in flood-prone areas, while the internal displaced persons camps were being planned.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, disclosed this to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday.

Johnson said the state Commissioners for Health, Environment, and the Chief of Staff to the Governor were members of the ‘Flood and Erosion Control Committee’

Johnson stated, “I’m aware that there is a standing committee that was put together by the governor.

“In fact, in my local government (Opobo), I’m a member of that committee, the Flood and Erosion Control Committee.

“State functionaries like the health commissioner, environment commissioner, the Chief of Staff, and a member of the State Assembly, I remember Hon. Lynda Stewart is a member of that committee.”

He said with threats of flooding, the committee is up and doing, saying, “I believe that we will be there to do things that can mitigate the flood situation.”

Asked what concrete measures had been put in place to prevent possible disaster, he said the Internally Displaced Persons camps had already been planned before now.

Johnson added, “The various local governments have identified higher grounds where people would take refuge.

“So I want to strongly believe that though the threats are here, we will try as much as possible to invent what that committee has put in place.

“That committee was up and running until a month ago. So I’m sure that we will begin to reinvent what we have planned.

Efforts to reach the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, proved abortive on Tuesday as calls made to his line only rang out.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the state Ministry of Environment, Kunle Adeshina, who spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday said Lagos was aware and prepared for the development as the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, already addressed the media on the matter.

“The commissioner for the environment has addressed the media on the step-by-step measures put in place even regarding those who live on the river banks – those who might have to vacate when the rain gets heavy,” Adeshina said.

He referred our correspondent to an earlier statement released by the commissioner where residents along flood plains were also urged to be ready for relocation.

In the April statement, Wahab while disclosing that the state would experience abnormal rainfall in 2024, maintained that the government would ramp up sensitisation for residents along flood plains of major rivers such as Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota, and Shibiri, to be ready to relocate to higher grounds when the need arose.

He said, “We want to assure you that our state will continue to reap the benefits of careful and rigorous execution planning, as our flood control measures are stepped up to contain any imminent rainfall. The ministry has embarked on an all-year-round drainage maintenance programme for effective and efficient flood control, in addition to an efficient and sustainable solid waste management system.”

The Edo State Commissioner for Public Safety and Security, Kingsley Uwagbale, said that the state would review and update its last year’s flood management plan to combat incidents of flooding.

He noted that Edo State did not have problem of flooding last year and that the state would study the flood projection this year to enable it to tackle the menace.

Also, the Osun State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Mayowa Adejoorin, said the government was aware that the state was prone to flooding and had commenced work on ways to avert such incidents.

Adejoorin said, “We had foreknowledge that Osun being a state with large river could be flood-prone and we have taken steps to avert it.

“We are currently working on dredging of water channels and rivers in Osogbo. We are moving to Ilesa, Ife, Iwo and Gbongan to also dredge. The major challenge is the indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

“But as a responsible government, we will continue to do our best to ensure that waterways are free to prevent flooding.”


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