Nigeria to introduce river training to curb Niger, Benue flooding

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu has announced the introduction of river training to control recurrent flooding of rivers Niger and Benue towards, reducing disasters and humanitarian crises.

Adamu made the call when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja on Sunday.

He said the ministry through its Annual Flood Outlook 2022 had revealed severe flooding in many parts of the country, hence the need for Nigerians to take precautionary measures.

He said the river training would include; dredging, putting some structural elements like doing some dykes, embankments, reclaiming certain floodplains, among others.

“We want to do a study on Rivers Niger and Benue, we want to do a master plan that will address some of these issues.

*One of the reasons is that there is huge sediment in the river, River Niger traverses the Sahara Desert.

“It starts from the Futa-Jalon, runs through Mali in the Sahara Desert, so it brings a lot of sediments every year, and so it’s filling the river.

“And so when an extraordinary high intensity flow comes in, you know if the capacity of the river bed cannot take it, it will spill over the banks and that’s what’s been happening.

“So one of the things we were trying to do is the engineering solution to do that.

“We have what we call river training, it involves dredging, it involves putting some structural elements, what we call groins and so on into the river.

“It requires doing some dykes, embankments, requires reclaiming certain floodplains, even straightening some of the sharp bends on the rivers and so on and so forth, it is a huge, huge endeavor,” he said.

He said the cost for the proposed river training was about 14 billion dollars saying it was beyond several administrations, and having a masterplan was a first step.

Adamu, while citing instances of efforts of developed countries like Hungary, at taming their rivers, said that Nigeria would pick experiences from them and adopt it effectively.

“Even at that, you can reduce the effect but you cannot effectively say that you can eliminate flood and its effects, because nature behaves in a mysterious way,’’ he said.

Speaking on Nigeria’s hosting of the World Toilet Summit in November, the minister said it was an opportunity to showcase the country’s efforts at scaling up sanitation and hygiene.

He said access to toilet was the cheapest medicine, saying it was an investment capable of reducing over 60 per cent of all health problems in the country. 

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