Flood: FCTA expresses concern as water level rises in River Niger

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

River Niger

Authority of the Nigerian Federal capital territory administration, FCTA, has pointed out that information available from the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agencies, NIHSA, from its daily monitoring of flood water level of River Niger at Lokoja revealed that water level since 8th July 2019 has exceeded the level recorded in 2012 and 2018 after a comparative analysis of same period.

The Director General FCT Emergency Management Agency, Mr Abas Idris stated this during the Emergency Stakeholders Forum on flood mitigation and response Coordination organised by the Agency in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.

The Director General stated that recent flood incidents in the FCT and greater threats of further occurrence as alerted by flood forecast agencies give serious cause for concern especially to stakeholders on whose shoulders the responsibility of prevention, response and mitigation lies.

” This information is coming on the heels of its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook which declared 74 Local Government Areas in the country as having a high probability of experiencing flood, while 600 Local government Areas are under threat of flood”, said the DG.

The DG disclosed further that given the proximity of the FCT to Lokoja and the increasing water level of River Niger, the consequences are predictable, especially looking back at the 2012 flood incident.

Mr Idriss who expressed concern that residents and communities continue to take sensitisation messages against such practices with a pinch of salt added that they will succeed in stemming out public acts that heighten flood risks, half of the challenges pertaining to flooding in the FCT would be solved.

He revealed that, the forum would provides them with another opportunity to inject new ideas not only to cope effectively with the impending flood but to reduce to the nearest minimum recurrent flood incidents in the FCT.

“In the course of our deliberations, there is the need for a critical review of past flood incidents and our approach to prevention, response and mitigation. This is necessary in order to further strengthen those areas where we delivered and improve on others where there were lapses “, he explained further.

Meanwhile, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Christian Chinyeaka Ohaa vowed that the administration will continue to remove structures constructed in violation of relevant laws and further complicate flood risk within the city and its environs.

The permanent secretary also said that so far one hundred and fifty of such structures have been removed in furtherance of the ongoing exercise to clear instructions of waterways, in line with the Abuja city plan.

Ohaa commended the FCT Emergency Management Agency for its aggressive flood awareness campaign across the Area Councils, and also for taking proactive measures by organizing the forum.

He assured the Stakeholders that the administration will consider closely resolutions reached at the forum with the view to implementing them in line with the extant government policies.

” It is my expectations that your deliberations will not only come up with watertight preventive and response strategies against the impending flood but also proffer durable solutions to the issue of recurrent flood in the Federal Capital Territory”, he added.

According to him, “in line with your mandate as Secretariats, Departments or Agencies, you must be focused, committed and unrelenting in implementing programmes that are in the overall interest of public safety “.

“I say this in reference to recurring flood incidents in some parts of the Federal capital territory, largely due to violations of Town Planning Laws and Land Use Act”, Ohaa explained further.

The Permanent Secretary stressed that despite repeated sensitisation and awareness programmes, many residents still dump waste in drainages and other prohibited locations, which result in construction or blockage of waterways.

Ohaa reiterated his unflinching commitment and support to policies and programmes in pursuit of public safety including flood prevention and mitigation.

He noted that the forum would present an opportunity to objectively assess and review their performance in previous flood incidents with the view to identifying and strengthening areas of weaknesses.