The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has alerted Nigerians living and operating along the banks and flood plains of River Niger of the likelihood of imminent flooding of the river, advising them to move to safer areas to escape the impending calamity.
NOA listed Kogi, Kebbi, Anambra, Bayelsa, Niger, Kwara and Delta as the states likely to be most affected.
The agency, in a statement by its head of press unit, Mr. Paul Odenyi, said the warning became necessary in the light of recent warnings by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which has the responsibility of monitoring the flow of s rivers in the country.
“NIHSA has warned of rising tide of the River Niger with the likelihood of flooding along its routes. Already, the level of water in the river, as at Thursday, August 30, is estimated to be 8.84 metres, a level that is higher than the 2012 level of 8.62 metres.
“As a proactive measure, the NOA Director-General, Dr. Garba Abari has directed the Agency’s directorates in the affected states to immediately commence, in partnership with other relevant agencies and organisations, the sensitisation of citizens on the situation to avert the effect of flooding in these areas.” it said.
The agency urged residents across the states to be environmentally responsible by clearing water channels, while admonishing those living or doing business along the coastal areas to move upland to avert danger.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that Nigeria recorded its worst flood disaster in 2012 during which floods affected about 30 states, submerged thousands of houses and led to loss of lives and properties.
Kwara Riverine Communities Told To Relocate
In Kwara, the state government has advised residents of the state living along banks of River Niger to immediately relocate to safer areas to avoid loss of lives and property that could result from impending flooding.
The state commissioner for environment and forestry, Mr Amos Justus, who gave the advice in a press statement, said the warning followed the alert of looming flooding issued by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NiHSA).
He, therefore, called on residents of riverine communities in Lafiagi, Pategi, Jebba and other flood-prone areas in the state to immediately relocate to avoid casualties, just as he urged them to shun indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the waterways.
NiHSA had on Wednesday warned of possible flooding in seven states of the federation, comprising Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Kogi, Delta, Anambra and Bayelsa.
The agency disclosed that both Kainji and Jebba dams were already spilling water downstream while the level of water in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, had exceeded 2012 level.
Anambra Govt Assesses Vulnerable Areas
In Anambra State, worried by flooding menace on major roads in Awka, the state capital, the state Ministry of Works has commenced assessment of vulnerable roads and streets in order to forestall further damage.
The commissioner for works, Mr Marcel Ifejiofor, directed officials of a construction company by the state government, IDC, to carry out de-silting of some blocked drainage channels.
He urged the company to construct additional basins to control the outflow of flood waters from Amawbia into drainage channels at the Amawbia bypass end of the expressway.
At the Kwatta Flyover, the commissioner also directed that a consultant be engaged to design possible link of flood channels from Sammy Sparkle area of Works Road into Iyiagu Flood Channel as a further measure to check the flood menace.
While inspecting the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) temporary site junction of the expressway, the commissioner said the possibility of linking the flood waters from Arthur Eze Avenue and Emma Nnaemeka Street into Iyiagu channel was being considered.
Mr Ifejiofor directed the permanent secretary in the works ministry to invite the Awka South local government council chairman for a meeting to discuss the possibility of land owners ceding portions of their land for a comprehensive drainage system.
He also cautioned residents of the area against dumping refuse in drainage channels in order not to block them and cause flooding.