The flood alert isn’t looking good


In the last week or so, there have been many reports of havocs caused by persistent rains, breached river seams and general flooding across the country. Unfortunately, corpses have been washed up from their various graves following severe flooding of parts of Kogi State.
Reports claim, many graves in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State have been dug out by flood, exhuming human remains buried in them.
In our capital city, Ilorin, property worth millions of naira have been lost to flood caused by heavy downpour that lasted from Thursday to Friday. This is coming on the heels of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NHSA which has revealed that all indices which played out in the infamous 2012 flood disaster were manifesting and warned that nine states on the banks of River Niger and three others on the River Benue should expect severe flooding soonest.
In another instance, news reports claim that heavy downpour which lasted from 3p.m. on Thursday till late on Friday led to the Ofu River bursting its banks and flooding communities, submerging houses, opening graves and littering the communities with corpses. Some of the affected victims disclosed that the flood destroyed the only road linking Ugwolawo to Obagu and other suburbs of the local government.
According to them,  the road is no longer accessible as a result of the massive volume of water flowing from Oda area, cutting the major road from Idah to Anyigba in Kogi state as it entered adjoining houses and submerged them with properties destroyed and washed away tombs of the dead into Ofu River. They lamented that amongst the bodies washed away from their graves include that of Pa David Akogu, and his two sons Omale, and Akebe  who died over 20 and 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, some of the areas affected by the Ilorin flood include Harmony Estate, Akerebiata, Gerin Alimi, Isale Koko, and Kulende among other parts of the metropolis where the flood swept many vehicles, several metres away, from where they were parked. Kwara State Government has advised residents of the state living along banks of River Niger to immediately relocate to safer areas to avoid loss of lives and property that could result from impending flooding.
The State Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Mr. Amos Sayo Justus, who gave the piece of advice on Friday, said the directive followed the alert of looming flooding issued by the NHSA. Although floods have already ravaged parts of Patigi rendering hectres of farmlands where beans, guinea corns and other crops were planted a wasteland.
Many of those communities have relocated to IDP camps provided by the state government.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government through the Director, Engineering Hydrology, NHSA, Mr. Clement Nze, disclosed that the height of River Niger in Lokoja, was at 10.1m as against the 9.74m in 2012 and, it was rising every hour due to the opening of the dams. Therefore, “the underlisted states are going to witness flooding due to these indices, Niger, Kwara, Edo, Kogi, Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta states from the River Niger axis and Taraba, Benue and Adamawa from the River Benue axis,” he stated.  “Shiroro Dam had joined Kainji and Jebba dams in spilling water and this has contributed to the steady rise in the water level.
He added that it could be said that all the indices that caused the 2012 river flooding have manifested, except spillage of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroun. Speaking further, he explained, “It would be noted that it was on September 29, 2012 that the maximum flood level of 12 .840m and the corresponding discharge of 31,692 cubic metres/second were recorded at our station in Lokoja, downstream the confluence in 2012.
There are indications that the northern part of the country should be expecting more rains in the next three weeks. This can only mean one thing: more waters passing trough tributaries to access Nigeria’s biggest Rivers of Benue and Niger. It’s however reassuring that the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yenusa Maihaja, hinted that equipment for rescue had already been positioned in case of emergency.
We call on all stakeholders in Kwara in particular and the country at large to  prepare to move out of flood plains so as to minimise the expected damage that will follow the predicted flood peak. Also government at all levels must be resolute in insisting on proper building control especially around flood plains. Then more embankments should be constructed while these rivers should be further channelised to deepen them for navigation.

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