The Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) has warned that unless immediate actions are taken by states and all stakeholders to forestall the devastating impacts of floods as the rainy season begins, there will be losses of food, lives, and properties.
The Director-General of the agency, Clement Nze, made this know at a press conference to announce the agency’s yearly flood outlook yesterday in Abuja.
He explained that the reason for the flood warning was to give the states and all relevant stakeholders enough time to prepare ahead of the floods and to avert unnecessary losses and pain.
“During our yearly flood outlook last year, we predicted that 377 local government areas (LGAs), in 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), would be severely affected by floods, especially states around rivers Niger and Benue and in the course of that year, the predictions came true but unfortunately, many of the states did not act on it.
“As a responsible agency, we have been predicting and making public flood scenarios across the country since 2013 because due to the location of Nigeria in the Niger basin region, flooding tends to occur as most of the countries upstream empty downstream into Nigeria,” Nze said.
Nze warned that because of the nation’s downstream location, it is important for all relevant authorities to take the flood alert seriously and set in motion all necessary measures that would reduce floods and the impacts because many had failed in doing so and this had resulted in huge loss of food, animals and human lives.
He said: “Based on the Nigeria Meteorological Agency of Nigeria’s (NIMET’s) warning, we have tried to do the needful before the floods arrive around June and July, that is three months ahead, which is enough for all to do the needful to ensure that states avoid the impacts.”
Although he did not mention specific states likely to be affected, he said: “This is the best time for flood-prone states to take action. Therefore, those living in flood plains must move away, and states and all stakeholders must start taking action now and not wait until it is too late.”
Speaking on the importance of the flood alert, the Head of Media Unit of the agency, Mrs Lauretta Samuel, said many states and farming communities would benefit from the flood warnings, as it would enable them to make early preparations to avert damage.