As the country begins to witness rainfall, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA) has warned states and other stakeholders in the building and environment sectors to play their roles well to mitigate flooding this year.
Director-General of the agency, Clement Nze, who gave the warning in Abuja on Wednesday, said previous attempts to get the state government along in its flood forecast efforts had not yielded the desire results.
The DG, who said 317 local governments in 36 states and the FCT were affected by flood last year, added that large areas of farms were destroyed in Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano among others.
He then urged state and local governments to, among other things, begin the clearing of drainages and canals as well as encourage people living along the water-ways to relocate to safer areas before the rains start fully.
Nze expressed that Nigeria’s geographical location downstream the countries in Niger Basin places it at the receiving end of disastrous floods and pollution from the countries upstream.
The agency chief said this explains the persistent flooding that had become an annual occurrence since 2012 when the country experienced its worst floods.
He however did not say the extent the floods are expected across the country and the likely areas to be affected.
Nze said NIHSA was studying the situation and would come out with the flood predictions by April 2021.
The agency chief urged states and local governments as well as individuals to take concrete steps to avert a similar disastrous flooding as witnessed few years.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency wishes to use this medium to advise states and local government, stakeholders, multi-national companies and public spirited individuals that all hands must be on deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic in the year 2021.
He said further that while it is not possible to eradicate flooding, efforts should be made to either reduce or minimise it, adding that state governments must begin in earnest to educate their people.
The agency chief stressed that states must make efforts to avoid a repeat of the incidences of 2020, which saw over 450,000 hectares of rice plantation being washed away in Kebbi State alone as a result of flooding.
He regretted that while the agency has continued to give early warning signs, some states have failed to listen to the recommendations of the agency.
Nze added that at the moment, Jigawa state has set up a committee that is working to reduce incidences of flooding in the state in line with recommendations from the agency.