Government Assures No ImmediateFlood Threat; Urges Preparedness for Potential Flood Emergencies

In response to concerns about potential flooding, Prof. Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, has stated that there is currently no immediate threat of flooding. He urged all levels of government to implement preventive measures to avert flood emergencies.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Friday, Prof. Utsev highlighted the observations made by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA). The agency noted an increase in the volume of flow along the River Benue system, with a current flow level of 8.97 meters. However, Prof. Utsev emphasized that this increase is not significant compared to the flow level of 8.80 meters recorded on the same date in 2022.

The minister further reported that inland dams such as Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro exhibit a consistent flow regime. In Lokoja, where the Niger and Benue rivers converge, the heightened flow volume along the River Benue system remains within normal parameters. The monitoring station downstream of the confluence recorded a flow level of 7.80 meters, in contrast to the 8.24 meters registered on the same date in 2022.

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Prof. Utsev assured that as of today, there is no immediate threat to lives and properties, especially in states contiguous to Rivers Niger and Benue. Nonetheless, he urged all tiers of government to be prepared and deploy appropriate measures to minimize the potential impact of flooding during the peak of the rainy season.

The minister emphasized the need for states to intensify sensitization efforts, encouraging residents living along river banks to relocate to higher ground during periods of heavy rainfall. He also called on states and local governments to clear blocked drainages and construct new ones where necessary. Additionally, the removal of illegal structures within floodplains was stressed.

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Prof. Utsev acknowledged the historically heightened flood risk that typically occurs from July to October due to heavy rainfall. He highlighted the significance of dam water releases in maintaining dam integrity and mitigating flooding in adjacent communities.

The 2023 Annual Flood Outlook underscores the vulnerability of numerous areas. Within 32 states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 178 Local Government Areas (LGAs) fall within the Highly Probable Flood Risk Areas. Moreover, 224 LGAs in 35 states, including the FCT, are categorized as Moderately Probable Flood Risk Areas. As the nation enters a period prone to flooding, government entities and citizens alike are urged to remain vigilant and proactive in their preparations.

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