The warning by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency’s (NIHSA) that some states will experience serious flooding on account of heavy rainfall should be taken seriously.
The Director-General of NIMET, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, explained in Abuja that the warning became necessary to alert Nigerians on the need to take preventive measures to avert it.
The states that may experience the flooding, according to the Director-General of NIHSA, Dr. Moses Beckley, are Niger, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Anambra and Taraba. Others are Kebbi, Adamawa, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa and Sokoto.
The agency also warned that Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Lagos states are likely to experience coastal flooding due to the rise in sea level.
In a related development, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Malam Muhammad Sani-Sidi, has alerted state governments and communities along River Benue to the possibility of heavy flooding between August and November this year, following the information that Cameroon will commence routine release of excess water from its Lagdo Dam.
As a result of these warnings, the Lagos State Government has also alerted residents living in the coastal and low line areas of the state of an impending flooding.
We commend NIMET and NIHSA for this timely warning. The governments of the flood-prone states should map out preventive steps to avert loss of lives and property to flooding. We say this considering the disastrous consequences of the 2012 flooding despite warning from the weather agencies.
Nigeria reportedly lost about N2.29 trillion to the 2012 flood disaster which was due to the unregulated release of excess water from Lagdo Dam. More than seven million people were believed to have been affected by the flood, while 2.3 million people were displaced. The disaster claimed about 363 lives and destroyed many houses.
To avoid a repeat of 2012 flooding episode, we call on the Federal Government to assist the states with their flood control programmes. While the existing drainages and canals should be cleared to ensure easy flow of flood, new ones should be constructed, where they are needed.
We enjoin the public to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse on drainages and other acts that encourage flooding. The local governments in the states which are likely to experience the flood should be involved in de-flooding programmes designed by the government.
Also, all the states along the River Benue should be particularly mindful of flood warning. The concerned states should set up disaster management committees that will swing into action during emergencies, including flood. This committee should guide the public on how to cope with this problem.
There should also be public enlightenment campaigns on the matter. Let all tiers of government take proactive measures to check flooding.