In the wake of escalating water levels and heavy rains pounding various regions, Engr Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, has called upon Federal, State, and Local Governments to implement comprehensive preventive measures to avert an impending flood disaster. During a media conference at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, Utsev, accompanied by Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Goronyo, provided critical insights into the current water level situation and flooding risks.
Utsev stated, “Hydrological Observations reveal a notable surge in flow along the River Benue system, with the current flow level measuring 8.97 meters, compared to 8.80 meters on the same date last year.”
While the River Niger system maintains a consistent level, registering a standard height of 4.30 meters at Niamey, Niger Republic, monitoring data from inland dams, including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro, indicates consistent flow patterns.
Addressing the specific situation in Lokoja, Kogi State, where the Niger and Benue rivers converge, Utsev reassured, “Despite heightened flow along the River Benue system, the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers in Lokoja remains within normal limits, with the monitoring station downstream recording a flow level of 7.80 meters, as opposed to 8.24 meters on the same date last year.”
Acknowledging the geographical context of Nigeria within the Niger River Basin, Utsev emphasized the propensity for heavy rainfall, flooding, and related disasters during July, August, September, and October. He highlighted the importance of managing dam water releases to prevent downstream flooding and collaborate with neighboring countries, such as Cameroon, to exchange vital hydrological information.
The Minister underscored the necessity for comprehensive actions across all governmental levels. “It is imperative for all levels of government to heighten preparedness and deploy necessary measures to minimize potential flood impacts during the peak rainy season. There should be concerted efforts to sensitize communities living along riverbanks to relocate to higher ground. States and Local Governments must intensify drainage clearing and construction, remove illegal structures from floodplains, and the general public should refrain from navigating flooded areas.”
Assuring citizens, Utsev affirmed, “As of now, there is no imminent threat to lives and properties, particularly in states contiguous to the Rivers Niger and Benue.”
The call to action issued by the Minister seeks to mitigate the potential impact of impending floods and safeguard communities from the devastating consequences of rising water levels and torrential rains.