Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, has assured the public that there is currently no immediate danger of flooding. He has urged all levels of government to take preventative measures against potential flood emergencies.
Speaking to reporters in Abuja on Friday, Utsev highlighted findings from the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which indicated a rise in the flow volume of the River Benue system, reaching a level of 8.97 meters today. However, he emphasized that this increase is relatively minor compared to the flow level of 8.80 meters recorded on the same date in 2022.
The minister also cited reports from inland dams including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro, which have maintained a consistent flow pattern. He reassured the public that the heightened flow volume along the River Benue system in Lokoja, where the Niger and Benue rivers converge, remains within normal parameters. The flow level at the downstream monitoring station currently stands at 7.80 meters, down from 8.24 meters on the same date last year.
Utsev called upon all tiers of government to ensure readiness and implement appropriate strategies to mitigate potential flooding impacts during the peak of the rainy season. He urged states to increase awareness regarding the necessity for individuals residing along riverbanks to relocate to higher ground during periods of heavy rainfall.
The minister stressed the importance of clearing blocked drainage systems and constructing new ones where needed. He also emphasized the removal of unauthorized structures within flood-prone areas. Additionally, he cautioned the public, especially motorists, against traversing through standing water or floodwaters.
Utsev acknowledged the historical trend of heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood-related disasters typically occurring between July and October. He highlighted the significance of dam water releases in preserving dam integrity and minimizing flooding risks in adjacent communities.
The 2023 Annual Flood Outlook, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), indicates that 178 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are categorized as highly probable flood risk areas. Moreover, 224 LGAs spanning 35 states and the FCT are identified as moderately probable flood risk areas.