States Ignored NIHSA Warnings On Flood – DG

 

Amid the torrential rains that have led to floods being recorded in some states in the country, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has said state governments ignored its repeated warnings on impending disaster.

The NIHSA Director-General, Clement Nze, said the agency had earlier issued the warning of heavy downpour and consequent flooding expected in the country but the state governments did not prepare by taking proactive and preventive measures.

“We cannot go to the states to pull down structures which the state governments had given permits to be built at wrong locations,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise.

“My agency sent out an alarm in April that this is the right season, that the best time to prepare for war is during the time of peace.

“Now that there is no rain yet, not much, or if there had been any rain at all as at February 4, no flooding incident had been recorded in Nigeria. That was the time states could have done some remedial measures. But what did the state governments do?” he said.

Nze noted that the agency raised another signal in July that most parts of the country were being ravaged by urban and coastal flooding caused by the absence of drainages and other structure.

NIHSA Boss, Clement Nze

 

To NIHSA boss, “the third leg of the flood is still coming sometime in August or September” but most of the states also ignored this warning.

Speaking on the way forward, Nze proposed that states should “build divergent structures as the River Niger is flowing.

“We have advocated that channels be constructed, artificial drainages, from the bank of the River Niger in each of the states as many as you can construct, build a deep channel during the dry season, let the water be 50km away from the bank of the river and then construct a reservoir, 50 meters in length and 30 meters deep so that when the water is passing during the rainy season, much will be entering these basins.

“By so doing, that will reduce the flooding you are seeing. And then, the water you have preserved will be used for all-round agriculture production.”

Niger, Kaduna Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi states, amongst others, have been ravaged by floods, with scores killed, thousands displaced and farmlands washed away.

Floods: NIHSA Blames State Govts, Developers For Ignoring Warnings

Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on Monday blamed state governments, estate developers and other individuals for floods which have recently plagued different parts of the country.

Director-General of the agency, Clement Nze, in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said state governments and agencies have repeatedly failed to set up measures but only resort to ‘fire brigade approach’ when flooding eventually occurs.

READ ALSO: Ondo Varsity Final-Year Student Swept Away By Flood

“The response to our predictions in terms of taking precautionary measures have not been quite pleasant. It is only when the disaster has occurred that people will now be taking the fire brigade approach.

“State governments, individuals, estate developers have not taken heed to our predictions. If they have done so we won’t be witnessing what is happening today. Response to our predictions are not encouraging,” he lamented.

NIHASA DG, Clement Nze

 

When questioned on roles played by the NIHSA to curb flooding following their predictions, Nze said the role of his agency is to merely advise and not enforce.

He added that ministries involved in enforcing measures that can prevent flooding are however engaged when flood alerts are issued.

“Whatever we do, we bring in different authorities that are in charge of enforcement. Ministry of urban planning, regional planning, environment, and others, are pre-informed.

“It is their role to implement. We are not an enforcement agency.”

Nze also blamed flooding on poor urban planning, and lack of drainages.

He warned that states located within the coastal region need to put up extra measures to prevent flooding concluding that “Coastal flooding will occur from time to time in places like Lagos, Ondo, and Bayelsa.

NIHSA earlier this year issued flood alert warning Nigerians of imminent increased flooding.

The hydrological agency predicted that no fewer than 74 Local Government Areas (LGA) in 30 states in Nigeria would experience severe flooding in June, July, August, and September.

They also warned that 279 local government areas would experience minimum flooding across the country in the period.

President Buhari Authorises NEMA To Declare Flooding “National Disaster”

Houses affected by a flood in Niger State.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has delegated authority to the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, to declare a “national disaster’’ if the anticipated flooding becomes a reality in parts of the country.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s directive was contained in a letter entitled ‘Situation Report on the River Flood Along the Banks of Rivers Benue and Niger’.

The letter was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

It gave “Delegation of authority to the Director-General of NEMA to activate the Disaster Response Units of the military for possible search and rescue missions”.

The President also gave the NEMA DG authorisation for “the procurement and proportionate stocking of relief materials and health-related items up to N3billion to provide for the needs of possible victims.’’

Also, President Buhari instructed the NEMA boss to provide him with regular updates.

The President’s directive follows a warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) that Rivers Benue and Niger had almost reached levels that resulted in flooding in 2012, which led to the loss of lives and destruction of property.

It also comes just two days after floods hit Niger State leaving 40 dead and over 100 communities submerged.


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In a statement on September 6, NIHSA had warned that Nigeria risked witnessing a repeat of the catastrophic flooding of 2012 due to the steady rise in water levels and weather forecast for the coming weeks.

“There has been systematic daily rise in the water levels on both rivers. Records from our measuring stations in Lokoja (River Niger) & Makurdi (River Benue) clearly show this,” the agency said.

“This situation calls for watchfulness on the part of the riparian states as there is still likelihood of occurrence of river flooding. Shiroro Dam has already joined Kainji and Jebba Dams in spilling water. This has contributed to the steady rise in the water level.”

Days after, its fears started becoming a reality with news of flooding being reported in parts of the country.

On Thursday, more than 100 communities in Niger State became submerged as River Niger overflowed its banks.

Farmlands and houses were destroyed, leaving residents of the affected communities homeless.

The state Governor, Abubakar Bello, who visited the communities with other members of the state executive, appealed to the Federal Government to intervene as the situation was beyond the state.

Indices That Caused 2012 Floods Have Manifested, Agency Warns

This file photo from August 2017 shows a flooded street in Benue

 

A steady rise in water levels and weather forecast for the coming weeks have put Nigeria at risk of witnessing a recurrence of catastrophic flooding similar to what it witnessed in 2012, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned.

In a statement by its Director of Engineering, Clement Nze, on Thursday, NIHSA said the signs observed before the massive 2012 flood in several states have manifested.

“There has been systematic daily rise in the water levels on both rivers. Records from our measuring stations in Lokoja (River Niger) & Makurdi (River Benue) clearly show this,” the agency said.

“This situation calls for watchfulness on the part of the riparian states as there is still likelihood of occurrence of river flooding. Shiroro Dam has already joined Kainji and Jebba Dams in spilling water. This has contributed to the steady rise in the water level.”

In 2012, catastrophic flooding had affected up to 30 states in Nigeria and resulted in the deaths of over 300 people and displaced more than two million people, according to data from the National Emergency Management Agency.

NIHSA believes the country is at risk of a recurrence of the disaster if steps are not taken.

“As at today, 06-09-2018, our hydrological measuring station downstream the confluence in Lokoja recorded a stage height of 9.89m and a discharge value of 21,326 cubic metres/second as against lower values of 9.43m and 19,762 cubic metres/second recorded on the corresponding date of 06-09-2012,” the agency said.

“From the foregoing, it could be said that all the indices that caused the 2012 river flooding have manifested, except spillage of water from the Lagdo Dam.”

This comes exactly one week after the agency issued a flood alert for seven states – Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, and Bayelsa – on the floodplains of River Niger.

In Thursday’s update, NIHSA said the latest development called for watchfulness by states along the floodplains of not just River Niger but those of River Benue as well.

It, therefore, called on 12 states to be on alert with Edo, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, and Rivers states joining the seven states previously put on alert.

Explaining its latest data as it relates to indices from 2012, NIHSA said, “For the records, it was on 29-09-2012 that the maximum flood level of 12.840m and the corresponding discharge of 31,692 cubic metres/second were recorded at our station in Lokoja, downstream the confluence in 2012.

“By (Nigerian Meteorological Agency) NiMet’s 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) released earlier in the year, 28th September is the earliest cessation date of rainfall in Sokoto and Katsina, while December is the earliest cessation date for the southern coastal cities.

“The implication of this is that the Northern part of the country should be expecting more rains in the next three weeks. High flows are still being expected from the upper catchment of the Niger Basin. The River Benue is equally rising, though the level of water as at today has not attained the level witnessed at this time in 2012.”

According to the agency, the localised urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country are expected to continue due to high rainfall intensity of shorter duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning, as well as coastal flooding resulting from sea rise and storm surges.

While it promised to continue to update Nigerians on new developments, it urged riparian states to take steps to check flooding.

“States and local governments should endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drainages, culverts, and other waterways,” it said.

NIHSA Issues ‘Red Alert’ On Flood In Niger, Six Other States

Flood: NIHSA Issues Red Alert In Niger, Six States

 

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has asked the residents of Niger and six other states to prepare for more flooding.

The agency made the call in a statement signed on Wednesday by one of its officials, Mr Clement Nze.

READ ALSO: Change The Habits Of Blocking Drainages, FG Tells Nigerians

It disclosed that both Kainji and Jebba dams were already spilling water downstream while the level of water in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital has exceeded the corresponding value in 2012.

According to the statement, the flood is likely to affect some states located on the banks of River Niger in the North-central, South-south, and South-eastern parts of the country.

NIHSA asked residents of Kebbi, Anambra, Bayelsa, and Delta states among others to watch out for flash floods due to the overflowing of the dams.

The statement read, “The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) wishes to inform the general public, especially those living by the banks of River Niger, that river flooding is likely to occur.

“Both Kainji and Jebba dams are already spilling water downstream. The Level of water in Lokoja today, 29/8/2018, has exceeded the corresponding value on 29/8/2012.

“The following states should watch out: Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, and Bayelsa.”

Many states have recorded perennial floods this year leading to the loss of lives and properties.

On July 18, the Federal Government called on Nigerians, especially those living in flood-prone areas to stop blocking drainages to enhance the flow of water.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made the plea during a condolence visit to Abeokuta in Ogun State, asked the change their habits in terms of blocking drainages.

According to him, flash flooding is likely to occur when there is a large amount of rain falling within a short period of time.

Professor Osinbajo also advised those living in the axis where floods were imminent to move quickly to higher grounds when the rains are heavy, to prevent the loss of life and destruction of property.