By G9ija

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has warned that Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Rivers and Bayelsa States which are contiguous to River Niger will likely experience severe flooding in September.

The Agency, which gave the red alert in a statement issued on Tuesday by its Director General, Mr. Clement Nze, said this is because Nigeria is located at the lowest portion of the Niger Basin.

Nze disclosed that the information received by the agency from the regional Niger Basin Authority headquarters in Niamey had it that as at Sunday, 23rd August, the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey was 6.60m.

He said the flood magnitude sighted in Niamey is expected to arrive Nigeria through Kebbi State around September 6, 2020.

The DG advised the states, local governments, stakeholders and individuals to put all hands on deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic this year.

He said blocked drainages and gutters should be cleared, river channels dredged and structures within the waterways and floodplains and flood
paths pulled down.

According to the statement, ”The River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, has Nigeria 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.

”As at today, the Middle Niger of the Niger Basin made up of Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso and part of Mali, have been flooded. The flood levels at the hydrological stations monitored in Niamey (Niger Republic) and Malanville (Benin Republic) have gotten to the Red Alert Zone.

”Operators of Kainji and Jebba Dams have long been alerted to take appropriate measures in the operation of the reservoirs. Accordingly, Kainji Dam
is now spilling water at the rate of p86.4 million cubic metres/day. This means that communities downstream Kainji and Jebba Dams could be flooded. The Shiroro Dam on Kaduna River is still impounding, though there is the possibility of spilling water in the weeks
ahead.

”The month of July and early part of August 2020, witnessed unprecedented flooding incidents across the country. Some lives and property were lost as a result. This was later followed by a period of Dry Spell, otherwise known as August Break which lasted up to the third week of August, 2020. The beginning of the last week of August 2020 witnessed return of rains in most parts of the country. Expectedly, this will be accompanied by increasing saturation and wetness of the soil.

”Under this condition of saturated soil, it is expected that any rainfall of high intensity and long duration might translate into flooding in most parts of the country. So far, Urban/Flash Flood has wrecked havocs in many states of the Federation, including the FCT. As at date, no less than 70 LGAs in 20 states are counting their losses due to flood incidents.

”Information received by NIHSA from the relevant authority in Cameroon stated that the Lagdo Dam is still impounding water. It could be recalled that on the 10th of October, 2019, the operators of Lagdo Dam opened the Dam without first notifying ahead of time as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The situation is being closely monitored by the Agency.

”The country still has many days of rainfall in the course of the year. More floods are therefore still expected in the months of August, September and October this year. In the event there is release of excess water from the dams in other countries upstream rivers Niger and Benue this year, this will have more negative impacts on Nigeria which is located downstream other countries in the Niger Basin.”