The Federal Government has commiserated with all Nigerians on the damage caused by recent floods across the country, especially in Niger and Lagos States.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, conveyed the government’s sympathy at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that about 30 states and over 100 local government areas, which had been categorised as high flood risk areas, could 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.
The minister, however, gave assurance 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 across the country.
Mr. Adamu also advised that people should adhere to the advice in the recent Annual Flood Outlook issued by the NIHSA and other flood alerts by related agencies.
He said that the ministry would soon embark on a sensitisation campaign, in collaboration with NIHSA, to educate the entire citizenry 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.
The minister called on the state and local governments to also embark on similar sensitisation campaigns on flooding, particularly at the grassroots level.
Mr. Adamu also advised that those living in urban cities to always refrain from constructing structures on drainages.
He, therefore, underscored the need for state and local governments to strictly enforce environmental laws and town planning guidelines so as to 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.
He, however, assured Nigerians that more dams and water reservoirs would be constructed across the country to avert recurrence of flood incidents in the future.
The minister’s statement comes on the day Acting President Yemi Osinbajo approved the immediate release of N1.6 billion to 16 states already affected by the flood.