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FG to release white paper on flood control soon, says Minister

By Ameh Ochojila (Abuja) and Abel Abogonye (Lafia)
27 August 2023   |   5:57 am
A white paper on the report of the Presidential Flood Prevention Committee submitted to the Presidency by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources would soon be released by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

• Nasarawa To Evacuate Flood-prone Communities, Demolish Structures

A white paper on the report of the Presidential Flood Prevention Committee submitted to the Presidency by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources would soon be released by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Meanwhile, ahead of the flooding predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), the Nasarawa State government has disclosed that it would evacuate communities in flood-prone areas to a higher ground and also demolish structures built on waterways as part of measures to avert loss of lives and property.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, hinted at the release of the White Paper while answering questions from journalists at a press briefing in Abuja last Friday evening.

Immediate past president Muhammadu Buhari had received the report from the Presidential Committee for the Development of a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria in the twilight of his administration.

“The president is looking at the reports and the White Paper will soon be released on it,” the minister said. In a joint press briefing held by Utsev and the Minister of State for Water Resources and Sanitation, Bello Muhammad Goronyo, in response to the predicted flooding in Nigeria, the ministers advised Nigerians living along riverine areas to relocate to a higher ground.

“An increase in the volume of flow along the River Benue system is registering a flow level of 8.97 metres as of today. This is compared to a flow level of 8.80 metres on the same date in 2022,” they said.

They revealed that reports from inland dams including Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro also indicate a consistent flow regime.

“States and local councils should intensify efforts in clearing blocked drainages and also construct new ones where they do not exist and remove illegal structures constructed within the floodplains,” Utsev advised.

The Nasarawa State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Yakubu Kwanta, spoke with journalists in Lafia yesterday after the August environmental sanitation exercise on the government’s plans to ensure that no life is lost to flood in the state this year.

The commissioner, who was represented by the Chief Environment Officer, who is also the Chief Prosecutor of the ministry, Malam Abubakar Mohammed, gave the assurance that the ministry would be proactive to prevent any flood disaster.

Abubakar said the state government has commenced sensitisation particularly in communities likely to be affected by the flood. He explained that the decision to demolish the structures on waterways followed NiMet’s recent prediction of possible flooding in 25 states including Nasarawa State.

“When you block the waterways and prevent water against free flow, you are inviting disaster because anyhow it will find its way,” he said.