Engr Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, has issued a pressing plea to the Federal, State, and Local Authorities, urging them to promptly establish preventive protocols in anticipation of an imminent flood catastrophe. The call comes as torrential rains persist and water levels surge in River Benue and other water bodies.
In collaboration with Bello Goronyo, the Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Utsev delivered an update on the current water levels and flooding conditions through a media briefing at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Utsev stated, “Hydrological Findings: The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has observed a rise in the volume of water flow along the River Benue system, indicating a flow level of 8.97 meters as of today. This contrasts the flow level of 8.80 meters recorded on the same date in 2022. Concurrently, the water level in the River Niger system remains stable, with the River Niger’s level in Niamey, Niger Republic, maintaining a standard level of 4.30 meters. Reports from internal dams, including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro, also affirm a steady flow pattern.”
He went on to elaborate, “Status in Lokoja: Despite the amplified water volume along the River Benue system, the flow situation at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers in Lokoja, Kogi State, remains within the expected parameters. The monitoring station downstream of the confluence currently records a level of 7.80 meters, a decrease from 8.24 meters on the same date in 2022.”
Regarding Preparedness Measures, Utsev emphasized, “Recognizing Nigeria’s downstream position concerning the nine nations within the Niger River Basin, it’s crucial to acknowledge the period of intense rainfall, flooding, and flood-related disasters typically witnessed in July, August, September, and October. Releasing dam water is vital for maintaining dam integrity and reducing flooding in adjacent communities. To exchange water release information, NIHSA has maintained a professional relationship with Cameroon’s National Hydrological Services.”
Immediate Action Required: In light of the factors mentioned above, it is imperative for all tiers of government—federal, state, and local—to elevate their preparedness efforts and deploy appropriate strategies to minimize the potential repercussions of flooding during the peak rainy season.
States should raise public awareness about the necessity for residents living along riverbanks to relocate to higher grounds during this period of heightened rainfall. Additionally, States and Local Governments must intensify efforts to clear obstructed drainage systems and construct new ones where required. Illegally erected structures within floodplains should be removed.
The general populace, particularly road users, should refrain from walking or driving through pools of water or floods.
As of today (Friday), there is no immediate danger to lives and property, particularly in states contiguous to Rivers Niger and Benue.