The Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency, NIHSA, Mr Clement Nze, had stressed the need for state and local governments to restore rivers to their natural courses and reduce indiscriminate encroachment on waterways.
Mr. Nze made this known at a Technical session after the unveiling of the Agency 2021 Annual Flood Outlook in Abuja.
The DG who expressed worry over the refusal by some states to adhere to early warnings about floods, said it had resulted in the devastating effects being recorded annually in parts of the country.
Nze stressed that enforcement of town planning codes in the country would go a long way to managing construction of houses and drainage appropriately.
“Last year, the minister sent a letter to all the state governors in Nigeria and informed them in details of what to expect, yet not too many states are doing something about it.’’, the states do not seem to be perturbed.
“We are calling on states to relocate people that live in waterways and flood plains” he added.
“Once the disaster occurs, they are quick to cry to high heavens, but in terms of reducing the impact of flooding before it occurs, they don’t seem to be doing much.”
“I recalled that in 2016 and 2017, I engaged some state agencies one on one, and we were told not to tell them what will happen unless we have relief materials,’’ Nze said.
The NIHSA Director General who appealed to states to desilt their rivers, drainage and water channels added that the removal of refuse, weeds and water hyacinth is very important.
In his contribution the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammadu Muhammed, noted that the agency had enjoyed robust partnership with NIHSA as a critical stakeholder in disaster management.
According to him, NIHSA’s AFO has been a veritable took for NEMA in flood preparedness, mitigation and response since 2013.
Muhammed said the agency had also established three automatic weather observation stations in Nasarawa, Gombe, and Ekiti states to enhance flood forecast and management in Nigeria.