FG Names States At Risk of Major Flood Disaster

The Federal Government has asked state governments to prepare for flooding as a result of an increase in the flow along the River Benue.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, and the Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Muhammad Goronyo, made this announcement at a press conference on Saturday in Abuja.

In Nigeria’s northeast and north central geopolitical zones, the Benue River passes through seven states: Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, and Kogi.

“The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has noted an increase in the volume of flow along the River Benue system, registering a flow level of 8.97m as of today.

“This is compared to a flow level of 8.80m on the same date in 2022. Meanwhile, the flow level on the River Niger system remains stable, with the level of the River Niger at Niamey, Niger Republic, standing at a normal level of 4.30m.

“Reports from inland dams, including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro, also indicate a consistent flow regime,” Utsev said.

The minister said it was important for states to prepare since the country was already witnessing heavy rainfall.

He added, “In light of the aforementioned factors, it is imperative for all levels of government – federal, state, and local – to heighten the level of preparedness and deploy appropriate measures to minimise the potential impact of flooding during the peak of the rainy season.

“There should be sensitisation of the general public by the states on the need for people living along the river banks to relocate to higher grounds during this peak period of rainfall. States and local governments should intensify efforts in clearing blocked drainages and also construct new ones where they do not exist.

While advocating the removal of illegal structures constructed within the floodplains, he urged the general public, especially road users, to desist from walking or driving through any pool of water or flood.

He, however, noted that “as at today, there is no threat to lives and properties, especially those states that are contiguous to Rivers Niger and Benue.”

On the situation at Lokoja, the minister stated that despite the heightened flow volume along the River Benue system, the flow situation at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers in Lokoja, Kogi State, remained within normal parameters.

“The flow level at the monitoring station downstream of the confluence records 7.8m today, compared to 8.24m on the same date in 2022.”