By: Bamidele Fashube
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on Tuesday, placed 10 states on flooding alerts following the rising water level in the Niger Basin.
It said the latest information from the regional Niger Basin Authority (NBA) Headquarters in Niamey revealed that the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey was as at Sunday, August 23, at 6.60m.
The states are; Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Rivers, Kwara and Kebbi states.
The agency in a statement signed by its Director General Engr. Clement Onyeaso Nze, said the flood magnitude sighted in Niamey is expected to arrive Nigeria through Kebbi State around September
It stated that operators of Kainji and Jebba dams have long been alerted to take appropriate measures in the operation of the reservoirs.
The statement read in part: “The River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, has Nigeria at the lowest portion of the Basin. This means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding incident.
“As at today, the Middle Niger of the Niger Basin made up of Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso and part of Mali, have been flooded. The flood levels at the hydrological stations monitored in Niamey (Niger Republic) and Malanville (Benin Republic) have gotten to the Red Alert Zone.
“Latest information received by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) from the regional Niger Basin Authority (NBA) Hqtrs in Niamey had it that as at Sunday, 23rd August 2020, the flood level of River Niger monitored in Niamey was 6.60m.
“This is already within the Red Alert Zone. Flood Alerts as zoned by the NBA are as follows:
Yellow Alert: 5.50m – 5.80m;
Orange Alert: 5.80m – 6.20m
Red Alert: 6.20m and above.”
The agency said the current development portends some level of concern for Nigeria as there could be a likelihood of river flooding in the states contiguous to River Niger.
“Accordingly, Kainji Dam is now spilling water at the rate of 1,000 m3/s, i.e. 86.4 million cubic metres/day. This means that communities downstream Kainji and Jebba Dams could be flooded.
“The Shiroro Dam on Kaduna River is still impounding, though there is the possibility of spilling water in the weeks ahead,” it added.
However, the agency said it had continued to monitor the developments on River Benue sub-basin and had maintained close contact with the Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
“Information received by NIHSA from the relevant authority in Cameroon stated that the Lagdo Dam is still impounding water.
“It could be recalled that on the 10th of October, 2019, the operators of Lagdo Dam opened the Dam without notification ahead of time as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries,” the agency stated.
While assuring that it is closely monitoring the development, the agency advised state and local governments, among other stakeholders, to work together in saving the country from the consequences of flood pandemic in the year 2020.
“The country still has many days of rainfall in the course of the year. More floods are therefore still expected in the months of August, September and October this year,” the statement noted.