By Ebenezer Ishola
Massive floods will sweep through many parts of the country between September and October, a Federal Government has agency warned.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which gave the red alert, advised residents of flood-prone areas to begin relocation because heavy rains will precipitate the flooding leading to destruction of property and likely loss of lives.
Director-General of the agency, Mr. Clement Nze, explained that 275 local government areas of the 774 will be moderately hit by the flood while 102 councils will be worse-hit.
Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Kogi are on top of the list of states to witness major flooding.
The others are Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara, Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states.
All the local government areas in Lagos, except Epe and many parts of Ogun State, will be badly affected, the agency added.
NIHASA said governors of the states had been advised to begin immediate evacuation of residents in areas to be affected.
The NIHSA DG blamed the construction of houses on flood plains for the heavy flooding experienced in some parts of Abuja five days ago.
According to him, some lives and property were lost at ”the Sunday Adewusi Estate in the Dei Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) because it was built on a flood plain.” The estate is owned by the police.
Nze said what was required before now across the country was proper drainage and demolition of structures on flood plains.
He said the flooding experienced so far in parts of the country was as a result of constant rainfall. He warned that the effect of any nation in the Niger Basin releasing water from its dam(s) might be too devastating for Nigeria, if nothing was done now.
He said: “The month of June is usually the period of effective rainfalls and the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.
“Nigeria is downstream of all the countries in this basin. The months of July, August, September, and October are also known as JASO months signifying heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood disasters in most parts of the country. The floods are often aggravated by the trans-boundary inflow of rivers Niger and Benue from outside the country before they empty into the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria.
“As early as June, severe flooding incidents with attendant destructions and loss of lives were recorded in certain parts of the country. This has continued unabated even when the country is still more than two months away from the peak of rains with the attendant flooding incidents associated with those months.
“NIHSA wishes to use this medium to advise state and local governments, stakeholders, multinational companies and public-spirited individuals and philanthropists that all hands should be on the deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic in the year 2020.
“The country still has many days of rainfall in the course of the year. More floods are still expected in the months of August, September, and October.
In the event there is a release of excess water from the dams in other countries upstream rivers Niger and Benue, this will have more negative impact on Nigeria which is located downstream other countries in the Niger Basin.