Rising River Niger water level, a threat to Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says increasing water level of the River Niger portends a threat to the nation’s capital, given its proximity to Lokoja. Director-General of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, stated this at the 2019 Stakeholders Retreat on Flood Mitigation and Response Coordination, held on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 in Abuja.

“Information from the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agencies (NIHSA), from its daily monitoring of flood water level of River Niger at Lokoja, revealed that the water level, since July 8, has exceeded the level recorded in 2012 and 2018 after a comparative analysis of same period.

“This information is coming on the heel of its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook which declared 74 Local Government Areas in the country as having a high probability of experiencing flood. “Recent flood incidents in the FCT and greater threats of further occurrence as alerted by flood forecast agencies give serious cause for concern, especially to stakeholders on whose shoulders the responsibility of prevention, response and mitigation lies.”

Idriss said that the forum would provide stakeholders the opportunity to inject new ideas not only to cope effectively with the impending flood, but to reduce to the nearest minimum recurrent flood incidents in the FCT.

He cautioned FCT residents against indiscriminate refuse disposal, building on water ways and blockage of drainage, among other acts that obstruct the free flow of water when it rains. The FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr Chinyeaka Ohaa, in a remark, said that the FCTA would continue to remove structures constructed in violation of relevant laws to minimise flood risk within the city and its environs. Ohaa said that so far, 150 of such structures had been removed in the ongoing exercise to clear obstructions of waterways in line with the Abuja city plan.

He assured the stakeholders that the FCTA would consider resolutions reached at the forum with a view to implementing them in line with the extant government policies. “It is my expectations that your deliberations will not only come up with watertight preventive and response strategies against the impending flood, but also proffer durable solutions to the issue of recurrent flood in the FCT.”

He commended the FCT Emergency Management Agency for its aggressive flood awareness campaign across the six Area Councils, and for taking proactive measures by organising the forum.

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