By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerians have been advised to start preparing for the rainy season which may come earlier with the possibility of serious flooding, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA) has warned.
Director-General of NHISA, Mr Clement Nze, gave this warning at the agency’s maiden news conference held in Abuja on Tuesday, February 4. He explained that this warning was appropriate time to put all measures to curb any disaster in place and not wait till the season kicked off.
“We are here to use this medium to inform Nigerians, stakeholders, the state governments in particular and individuals that this is the right time you can prepare for flooding.
“The state government and local government areas should avoid what we call generally the ‘Fire Brigade Approach’ when the rain is already here,” he said.
He also advised that all the infrastructure needed to avert floods and other related damages that might arise.
“Various governments of Nigeria should begin to prepare for possible flooding for 2020, open up the drainages, or create drainage paths where there are none.
“Remove the structures that are within the flood plains, and let there be adequate drainage paths,” he said.
Mr Nze recalled that precisely on 21 January, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) released its 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and referencing some important points, he pointed out.
“In their prediction, they said the onset of the rainy season in the southern part of Nigeria will be starting from February 24, and in the North, like Sokoto and Katsina, the earliest will be June 22.
“And then for the rainfall to begin to seize, because it starts seizing from the North, according to their prediction, from September 26, it will start seizing from the North downwards to the south, by December 28.
“This year the rainfall, from their prediction, will start early and end within the normal time, it means we are going to have a longer period of rainfall if the prediction goes through or things go on as predicted, there will be a longer spell of rainfall but we are monitoring it,” he added.
The NHISA DG said that flooding could well continue when the rains stopped as a result of other factors.
“Sometimes there can be flooding in Nigeria when the rains have stopped, for instance, last year when the rains had seized in Nigeria in early November, Cameroon opened the Laos Dam on the 10th of October.
“I kept calling the Cameroon authorities, asking did you release water, they said no, meanwhile their Laos Dam was open from October 10 to October 31 for complete three weeks.
“Adamawa was submerged, a greater part of it, Taraba, Benue and eventually Kogi State, in the dry spell in Nigeria, when rainfall has seized, so when they open their dam and there is no rainfall in their own territory, flooding will occur,” he added.
NHISA is the country’s agency responsible for monitoring all the major rivers, including the Transboundary Rivers Niger and Benue.
It is charged with providing information and services required for efficient and sustainable management of the nation’s vast surface and groundwater resources including the security of life, property and water-related hazards such as floods and droughts.
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