Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa governments and other stakeholders have up scaled control measures to mitigate perennial flooding across the states.
Sequel to flood alert by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the state governments in collaboration with stakeholders initiated viable projects to mitigate the disaster in their respective areas.
NEMA predicted severe flood in 2023 based on the Annual Flood Outlook released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA).
According to the report, some states including Jigawa, Gombe and Bauchi might experience flood due to predicted heavy rainfall, thunder and high windstorm in the coming months.
In response to the flood alert, the states and other relevant authorities adopted proactive measures to mitigate the disaster.
A cross section of residents, who spoke in separate interviews Bauchi, Gombe and Jigawa, lauded the initiative, describing it as “commendable”.
In Jigawa, the government has embarked on desilt, construction of drains and embankments across flood prone areas of the state.
In 2022, the flood destroyed thousands of houses, ravaged farmlands, caused loss of lives and displaced thousands of people across Jigawa.
To address the menace, the state governor, Umar Namadi, who spoke on a live programme televised by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), reiterated government’s commitment to end perennial flooding in the state.
He said: “As a government, we are constructing culverts and drainage in towns to enable the free flow of water.
“A Technical Committee set up has recommended more embarkment at flood-prone areas to ensure that the communities are protected — that is what we have been doing for a long and we have covered about 85km of embarkment.
“The embarkment is not less than 2.5 metres high and less than four metres thick as recommended by the Technical Committee.
“We have covered 35 communities within eight local government areas and a distance of about 85 to 90 kilometres.
“To save the situation, Jigawa government have commenced the clearing of grasses using the state-acquired excavator machines that have covered 36km within four months and there are about 323 left. This is something that must be done.
“The Hadejia Jama’re River Basin Development Authority bought two more excavators for the state. Every day the four machines dredge 250 meters, this is part of the effort being made.
“The federal authorities must understand this challenge and do something about it.
“The clearing exercise being embarked upon by the Jigawa state government is capital-intensive. we are planning to cover 300km.
“This is what we need to understand and act collectively, and the authorities need to take the warning given by the NiMet, not telling the states that there is going to be rain or flood but what can we do as a country to help the situation.
“The rivers are not being maintained for long periods and the state has limited resources to maintain the rivers.
“Jigawa state has swung to action in addressing the flooding but has limitations”.
Commenting on the development, some residents of the state commended the goverment and stakeholders over the flood control projects.
Alhaji Hussaini Sani, Ward Head of Tsakuwawa community in Miga Local Government Area of the state, said the embankment constructed by the state government-controlled flooding in the area.
He applauded the Jama’atul Nasarul Islam (JNI) over its tree planting programme across the state.
Similarly, Hamza Hadejia, Secretary, Jigawa Task Force Commitee Against Flood, said the state government had begun creating earth bank in many areas.
He said the projects would address flood which ravaged communities in the past 16 years and commended the residents for their support.
In the same vein, Shehu Inuwa-Udi and Bala Usman, Chairmen of Ringim and Dutse Local Government Councils, said the implementation of the Agro-Climatic Resilience for Semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL) would mitigate impact of the flood.
While pledging support to the programme, Usman said that his council would ban tree failing to protect the environment.
Similarly, the Gombe government has adopted proactive measures to control flooding and other environmental challenges in the state.
Mr Ismaila Uba-Misilli, Director-General, Press Affairs, Government House, Gombe, said the move was in response to the 2023 report by NiMet and NHSA.
NiMet and NHSA listed Nafada, Yamaltu Deba and Balanga as flood higher risk areas.
He said that Gov. Inuwa Yahaya directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources to work with relevant stakeholders towards activation of emergency response and management resources.
This, he said, would ensure safety of lives and property while mitigating the effects of the flood.
He said the Ministry had constituted a task force to engage relevant stakeholders, to come up with ways of mitigating the impact of the disaster.
“The Ministry has also engaged in aggressive advocacy and community sensitisation in flood prone areas, to create awareness on self-precautionary and flood mitigation measures.
“Government, through the Ministry of Environment has also embarked on desilt exercise to ease flow of water, especially in densely populated areas.”
He said said the crisis response unit of the ministry equally mapped out shelter zones to serve as a haven to displaced persons during emergencies across the state.
Additionally, the Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in partnership with relevant agencies had scaled up flood mitigation and emergency response across the state.
The agency was working in collaboration with the state’s Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA), Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), development partners, among others.
Mr Adamu Nayola, Director, Research and Statistics of the agency, said the agency had embarked on an early warning sensitisation in flood-prone communities across the State.
“The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) have predicted late heavy rainfall, which would affect some parts of Bauchi State.
“We sensitised riverine communities, advised them to be vigilant and prepare for relocation as this year’s flooding gears up.
“They are to remain alert and comply with government’s directives on how to minimise the effects of the flood as well as prepare themselves on security, economic and health implications of the foreseen flood outbreak,” he said.
The Director said the agency would soon embark on another sensitisation tour of the flood-prone areas to mobilise people for evacuation to safe areas.
He called on residents to shun indiscriminate dumping of waste and erection of structures on waterways to guard against flooding.
“For now, the flood is prone to Kirfi, Gamawa, Zaki, Alkaleri and Darazo LGAs, and our attention is there persistently.
“We urged the people to take the warning seriously and learn to keep their environment clean at all times,” he said.