Federal Government has commiserated with Nigerians on the damages recent floods led to all over the country, most especially in Niger and Lagos States.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, announced the government’s sympathy at a news conference in Abuja on wednesday.
Adamu said that about 30 states and over 100 local government areas, which have been named as high flood risk areas, may expect flooding this year.
“Annually, there is an average of 1000 cubic metres precipitation with over 760 cubic metres evaporation, resulting in a balance of approximately 240 cubic metres as runoff.
“When this added to the over 88 cubic metres trans-boundary water (that is Niger and Benue river systems), we get a total surface water of about 328 cubic metres.
“Far less than 50 cubic metres of this runoff is impounded in reservoirs, leaving a surplus of over 250 cubic metres which should be controlled, harvested and managed before ending up in the Atlantic Ocean,“ he said.
He however assured that the flow of this water would be constantly monitored by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), while flood alerts would continue to be issued throughout the country.
Suleiman Adamu also urged people to adhere to the advice in the recent Annual Flood Outlook issued by the NIHSA and other flood alerts by agencies.
He stated that the ministry would soon start a sensitisation campaign, in collaboration with NIHSA, to educate the Nigerians on flood issues.
“The ministry and its relevant agencies will continue to sensitise the public and warn them against abuse of the environment as well as the importance of tree planting in efforts to reduce erosion and flooding,’’ he said.
He urged the state and local governments to also try to do similar sensitisation campaigns on flooding, especially at the grassroots level.
The minister also told those living in urban cities to always avoid constructing structures on drainages.
He underscored the need for state and local governments to strictly enforce environmental laws and town planning guidelines in order check uncontrolled physical development in their domains.
“Flash floods in the urban cities or semi-urban areas can be reduced with effective and adequate drainage systems.
“People must not use this facility as their refuse bins which will block and render the facility useless, with the probability of flooding heightening whenever it rains.
“Furthermore, people in the riverine areas should not erect residential structures on flood plains, as these areas are an extension of the river space,’’ he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that more dams and water reservoirs would be constructed throughout the countryin order to avert recurrence of flood incidents in the future.