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Flooding: Water Engineers Tasks FG, Citizens On Prevention Strategies

The Nigeria Institute of Water Engineers (NIWE) has called on the three tiers of government and citizens to adopt pragmatic ways and roles in the prevention of flooding in the country.
The Chairman of NIWE, FCT Chapter, Mr Douglas Oloton, made the appeal in his address of welcome at the Annual General Meeting, Engineering Conference and Inaguration of 2022 to 2023 Exco on Tuesday in Abuja.
The conference themed: “Incessant Flood and Control Strategies in the FCT”, was organised by the Abuja chapter of the institute.
According to Oloton, the issue of flood/flooding has become a global phenomenon that affects all citizens, towns, villages and communities.
He explained that it was becoming a disaster caused by nature and human, due to self-centredness and negligence.
He added that it would take proactive involvement of water engineers through continuous engagement of the government and others to curb the hardship and losses.
He said to prevent flooding, there was need to establish an evacuation route and teach people,  especially children, on how to respond to an emergency.
“Also, it is very important to know who to call during flooding storms, listen to local radio stations for information and buy flood insurance.
“Floods can be prevented if soil conditions improve, allowing for easier water absorption.
“During floods, flood barriers can be used as protections. It is expected
that floods will be affected by climate change due to change in rainfall, temperature, sea level and river fluctuations.
“Though, we cannot prevent natural causes like heavy rain caused by the bursting of clouds and the meeting of glaciers, but we can stop the breaking of dams, proper drainage system and infrastructure.
“So in order to curb flooding in the FCT and parts of the country, the governments and its citizens are expected to get their hands on deck.
“Everyone has a role to play; from ensuring that town planners and officials do their jobs, to ensuring that houses are built on the right landmarks,” Oloton said.
He stressed that drainage systems should be well built and waste must be disposed properly, with citizens clearing canals, removing refuse, weeds and flotsam on water channels to avoid blockage.
The National Chairman of NIWE, Mr Nnenna Igwegbe, said the theme for the lecture was apt, adding that it will not only help the FCT, but Nigeria as a whole to prepare for flooding.
Igwegbe said there were sad moments in Abuja when some estates suffered severe flooding.
“Example, EFAB Estate, Lokogoma down to Lugbe and just by Galadimawa roundabout, where people lost their lives some years back.
“This lecture is very good, especially for citizens and residents of the FCT to know what to expect in term of flood. When you block water ways, the water will always want to find another route and that could lead to flooding,” Igwegbe said.
In his presentation, Mr Clement Nze, said not less than 232 local government areas in Nigeria, cutting across 32 states and the FCT, will suffer severed flooding in 2022.
“As we speak, not less than 150 local government areas are already falling under the flooding incident. Lives have been lost.
“We need to prepare. As a country, we are getting closer to the peak of flooding when the Rivers Niger and Benue will be coming down.
“This is because, there other eight countries that are up stream of Nigeria and once those countries get flooded, Nigeria will be affected, because, we are down stream.
“What we are experiencing now is urban flooding in which is occasioned by high rain fall intensity and over ran flow occasioned by blocked drainages and building on water ways.
“River flooding is yet to set in. By the time we enter into the month of September, the flooding in Republic of Chad, Niger and Cameroon will come down into Nigeria,” Nze warned.
Nze, who is also the Director-General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, cautioned citizens not to throw waste indiscriminately and to also clear drainages, advising estate developers to always give space for water and avoid building on water ways.
Newsmen  reports that the event attracted officials from Ministry of Water Resources, FCTA and other relevant stakeholders in the country.
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