The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised communities along the River Niger to evacuate immediately to safer ground. The agency warned in a statement it issued in Abuja on Saturday that flooding might occur at any moment following intense rainfall and rises in water level.
The Director-General of the agency, Malam Muhammad Sani-Sidi, who gave the advice in the statement, said the agency had received alerts of the imminent flooding. He said information given by the authorities in the Republic of Niger indicated the present water level in the river had reached a point that may result in flooding that could be compared with that of 2012.
He said: “Niger Basin Authority (NBA) notified Nigeria that rainy season, which started in the Middle Niger (Burkina Faso and Niger Republic) in June, has led to a gradual rise of the level of River Niger in Niamey, Niger Republic.
“This high level of water in Niger Republic is already spreading to Benin Republic, and invariably, to Nigeria.’’ He further said that the level of water in all the hydrological monitoring stations across the country, as at Aug. 5, had already exceeded the corresponding values at that time. According to him, this development is an alarming situation that requires the prompt and coordinated action of all governments and stakeholders.
“If the heavy rainfall continues in intensity and duration within these regions of the River Niger, it is imminent that flood situation similar to that of the year 2012 may occur,’’ the director-general quoted the report as saying. Sani_Sidi, therefore, called on all stakeholders to take necessary actions in line with their various mandates. He said that states and local governments should ensure observance of the threat to avert imminent loss of lives and property that might arise in the event of flooding.
He identified the states along the river Niger belts as being the most vulnerable and those along its major tributaries such as in Benue river belts , the confluence states and downstream to the Atlantic Coast. He said NEMA zonal and operation offices had been instructed to continue with advocacy visit to the state governments. He also urged the states to utilise the flood vulnerability maps given to them earlier by NEMA to identify safer ground for temporary shelters in time of evacuation. He advised them to always review all their contingency plans.