Environment & Climate ChangeNews

Expect More Floods In August and September – Hydrological Agency

Nigeria will likely experience more flooding, especially in August and September going by the pattern already established, according to Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

“By our prediction, August and September are very critical for flooding in Nigeria.

“If as early as June we are losing lives and property occasioned by flooding in some parts of Nigeria, I don’t know what will happen by the time we approach the middle of August and September in Nigeria”, the Director-General of NIHSA, Mr Clement Nze, said in Abuja on Tuesday.

Nze explained that the flooding currently being experienced in Lagos and Ogun states might continue till the end of November because of spill from Oyan Dam, in Ogun State.

He said that flooding might exacerbate if neighbouring upstream countries released water from their dams into rivers Niger and Benue, pointing out that Nigeria is located downstream from other countries on the Niger Basin.

In 2019, flooding in the western part of the country was aggravated by release of water from Oyan Dam. The release of water from Lagdo Dam on the upper Benue River Basin in 2012 led to flooding in 27 states of Nigeria, including Adamawa, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi, Taraba, Benue, Imo, Anambra and Delta.

He said the recent floods in Gwagwalada in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Suleja, in Niger State, were caused by excessive rainfall.

In May, NHSA released the 2020 Annual Flood Outlook which indicates that at least 102 local government areas in 28 states fall within the highly Probable Flood Risk areas.

It also states that parts of 275 local government areas in the 36 states and FCT are within moderate Probable Flood Risk Areas.

Nze said the best action for now would be the relocation of people in flood-prone areas, including estates.

“It’s better for people to relocate physically and be safe in the coming months.

“For instance, in Abuja it will rain up to the first week of November, in Lagos and Ogun it will still rain up to the first week of December and in the Southern region, up to December 28, while in the far North the rain will begin to cease September 26,” he said.

The director-general recalled that the minister of Water Resources sent out letters to each state governor and the minister of FCT notifying them of the local government areas that were at high risk of flooding in their respective domains.

“But, we don’t know how prepared the states are, the flood is already here. To begin to build drainages, to demolish houses that are within the flood paths may be difficult at this point in time.

“Therefore, blocked drainages and gutters should be cleared, river channels dredged and structures within the waterways and floodplains and flood paths pulled down,” he advised.

On Saturday, flood ravaged communities in Gwagwalada Local Government Council of FCT and killed five persons, including four members of one family.

While sympathising with the victims, the Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, retired AVM Muhammadu Muhammed, advised citizens to heed advice on the occurrence of floods.by evacuating to safer high grounds.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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