The Niger Government says it has begun house-to-house sensitisation for its residents to prevent flooding across the state.
Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry for Environment and Forestry, Dr Lucky Barau, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Minna.
“The issue of flash flooding has become an occurrence decimal in Niger State, owing to the fact that the state is geographically located on a flood plain, making it susceptible to flooding during wet seasons,” he said.
Barau said that going by this, the forecast by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency this year that there would be early rain, accompanied by flooding, may surpass the flooding of 2022 in the state.
He said that the government, through the Niger State Environmental Protection Agency, was doing everything possible to protect residents and their property from the impending flooding.
“Right now we are trying to remove debris and all other materials that clog drainage systems, culverts and bridges across the state. This measure will ensure free flow of water.
“We are also doing house-to-house sensitisation to make the people realise that the job of flood prevention is not government’s obligation alone but for all stakeholders, including the residents,” he said.
The permanent secretary explained that the measure would ensure that where government efforts were lacking, the people would provide drainage to evacuate water from their environment to prevent flooding.
He said that the government had provided designated spots in the state to dump refuse for evacuation, instead of using the drains, thereby blocking them and eventually resulting in flooding.
“We are appealing to residents of Niger State to stop dumping refuse into the drains to help us prevent flooding.
“Also, people who build on the waterways must stop, to enable water run off easily from our environment,” he said.
Barau also said the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had environmental agents and sanitation vanguards in the 25 local government areas and urban areas across the state.
According to him, the officials move from house to house to sensitise the people to how to prevent flooding and how to dispose refuse for evacuation by NISEPA.
“We also visit the eight Emirate Councils in the state to sensitise the people to how best to protect their environment,” he said.
The permanent secretary explained that NISEPA also picked refuse from various dumping sites and disposed of them at designated places, pending when the state government would put organised waste management in place.
“We also use afforestation and reforestation to protect the environment because trees reduce the possibility of flooding as they absorb water through the roots.
“Also the rainfall on the leaves of a tree reduces the direct intensity on the soil, thereby preventing erosion,” he said.
NiMet had predicted in January that 2023 would witness early onset of rainfall, accompanied by flooding.