By ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE
The Director General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engr. Clement Onyeaso Nze, Monday, 27th May, 2019, urged stakeholders on need for adequate flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness as the country gradually gets into rainy season.
He urged Nigerians to heed flood warnings raised at the 2019 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) presented at the 7th edition of the stakeholders’ workshop which held at the Rockview (Royale) Hotel, Abuja on the 30th of April, 2019.
Speaking to journalists in the Abuja office of NIHSA, Engr Nze identified non- adherence to flood early warnings as the major problem militating against prevention, mitigation and preparedness against flood disasters in Nigeria.
According to NIHSA’s recently published 2019 AFO report, some parts of the 8 Hydrological Areas of the country within nine sub-basins comprising Sokoto, Niger, Adamawa, Benue, Anambra, Imo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Yobe states are predicted as highly probable flood risk areas in 2019, covering about 74 LGAs, even as the report also predicted that flood incidents would be less probable in about 279 LGAs. Moreover, the 2019 AFO report stated that coastal states like Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Lagos, Ondo and Rivers are expected to experience coastal flooding due to rise in sea level and tidal surge which would impact on fishing, habitation and coastal transportation.
Engr. Nze reiterated that the AFO predictions are scientifically crafted, necessitating strict adherence by state governments to avoid actions that impede free and easy passage of water through its natural courses like building on water ways, blocking drainages, etc. could avert devastating flood disasters.
According to the NIHSA boss, the agency’s mandate is to, amongst other things, to provide timely and accurate data and information that would guide stakeholders to ensure that water which comes as a free gift of God is properly managed in ways that make it more beneficial and less disastrous.
Nze explained that NIHSA works with key stakeholders like the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet),National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs)to ensure that proactive steps are taken to avert flood disasters in the country.
He stated that while NIHSA leverages on information released by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction(SRP) in determining the amount of rainfall in the year, NEMA on the hand, depends on the early flood alert information of NIHSA to take proactive steps to manage flood emergencies that may arise, while NOA with offices all over the Federation serves as a vital information dissemination tool in reaching ordinary Nigerians at the grassroots with the flood warning information released by NIHSA.
Pix: Engr. Clement Onyeaso Nze, DG, NIHSA