The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has advised five states to be on red alert against flooding.
Mr Clement Onyeaso, the Director General of NIHSA, gave the advice while briefing the newsmen on Monday, November 4, 2019 in Abuja.
Onyeaso said the affected states to be on red alert are Edo, Delta, Anambra, Rivers and Bayelsa,
He said the river flooding that occurred in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Kogi would still find its way through these states before emptying into the ocean.
He advised the states to identify the communities bordering River Niger and make adequate plans for timely evacuation of people to safe and higher grounds in the event of flooding.
He said that the cause of the current flooding in the country was as result of release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.
“After several weeks of denials, the Cameroonian authorities responsible for the operation confirmed to NIHSA that it released water from the dam.
“In any case, it should be noted that this year is an exceptional year in terms of rainfall in the sub-region because it continued to rain up to the usual periods,” he said.
He said the current development of non-disclosure of information on operation of Lagdo Dam by the Cameroonians authorities was contrary to the spirit and letter of the MOU signed between the two countries in 2015.
“The MOU was signed after the 2012 devastated flooding incidents in Nigeria, which was caused by the release of excess water from this Cameroonian dam.
“Among other requirements on the MOU is that Cameroonian authorities should give adequate and prior notice to Nigeria before release of excess water downstream of the dam.
“The non-existence of a dam within the Nigerian portion of the Benue sub-basin makes Nigeria vulnerable in the event of sudden or unannounced released of water from the Lagdo Dam.”
He said that the Cameroonian authorities went ahead on Oct.10 to release water from Lagdo Dam without notifying the Nigerian government.
Onyeaso said that, as at today, the flood level on River Benue measured at Markurdi is 11.28 metres as against a much higher level of 9.01 metre that occurred on Nov. 4, 2012.
He explained that the corresponding flood levels downstream of the confluence of the two rivers in Lokoja are as follows 10.97 metres as of today and 8.04 metres occurred on Nov. 4, 2012.
“Year 2012 is taken as the reference year considering the magnitude of flood that occurred that year.
“As you can see from the above figures, the flood level in each hydrological station as at today is far above the corresponding value in 2012.”
Onyeaso said that both Kainji and Jebba dams on River Niger were still had excess water downstream, adding that this had invariably contributed to the rising level of River Niger in Lokoja.
NIHSA is the most active, responsible and visible agency of the government at the upstream sector in the prediction and issuance of early warning flood alerts in the country.
By Francisca Oluyole