The late commencement of the rains, the monsoon wind that usually brings heavy rain in the West African coast, and the rising sea levels due to the melting of glacier in the polar region will further increase floods in states like Lagos, Rivers and Cross River, among others, the Federal Government has said.
In the latest flood alert advice prepared by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for the country, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, stated that the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, a parastatal of the ministry, had earlier come out with the flood outlook for the country on June 13, 2017.
Adamu stated that the summary of the alert was that approximately 30 states and over 100 local government areas were categorised as high flood risk areas and therefore should expect flooding.
He said, “In the coastal areas, including Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar, possible coastal flooding in these places were mentioned in the NlHSA’s flood outlook. However, the case of Lagos State is unique, because it is very low-lying and there is reclamation of wetlands, which ordinarily should be buffers for floods.
“In addition, the rapid urbanisation of the Lagos coastal areas has not been matched with robust drainage provisions as well as adequate seawalls/barriers along the sea stretch.
“It is also important to mention that the monsoon wind (a strong prevailing wind that brings rain), which usually arrives the West African coast around June 22 to September/October, brings in a lot of rain to the land, coupled with the sea rise due to the melting of the glacier in the polar region.”
The minister added, “All these are definitely increasing the amount of water in the low-lying coastal areas of Lagos State. Worthy of note is the fact that the rains did not start early this year, thereby possibly causing long duration torrential downpour and causing unexpected urban/flash floods in areas with non-existing or inadequate drainage systems in the country.”
Adamu stated that urban/flash flood or overflow due to sustained rainfall in the urban cities or semi urban areas could be reduced with effective and adequate drainage systems.
He said, “People must not use this facility as refuse bins, which will block and render the facility useless with the probability of flooding heightened when it rains.
“Furthermore, people in the riverine areas must not erect residential structures on the flood plains as these areas are an extension of the river space. Unfortunately, people have refused to yield to advice.
“It is therefore suggested that state and local governments should do more to enforce environmental laws/town planning guidelines so as to check such uncontrolled physical development activities.”
The minister called for the construction of more reservoirs/dams to harness and harvest the excess water for various uses in agriculture, industry and power.
He said states and local governments should embark on the creation of multipurpose artificial lakes.
“It is hereby reiterated that individuals, communities, LGAs, and state government must always do the needful before, during and after the rains,” Adamu added.
Meanwhile, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has approved the release of N1.6bn from the Ecological Fund to 16 states affected by the recent flooding witnessed across the country.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adesina explained that the approved fund was to help cushion the effects of the floods on the victims.
Osinbajo, according to him, has directed the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to immediately release the sum of N1.6bn to the 16 states ravaged by floods across the country.
He explained further that the sum would be released directly to National Emergency Management Agency from the Ecological Fund domiciled in the Central Bank Nigeria.
“The Minister of Finance has been directed to release the money to the National Emergency Management Agency for onward distribution to the affected states,” Adesina said.
The benefiting states include Edo, Sokoto, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Oyo and Lagos, among others.