River Niger endangers 500 communities as dams overflow

Over 500 communities located along the River Niger plains are at risk of being flooded and have been advised to evacuate by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.

The agency, on Monday, urged residents of the communities to move to higher grounds immediately, based on the impending danger along the bank of one of Nigeria’s largest inland waterways.

According to NEMA, since the beginning of the season, River Niger’s dams have attained their highest water levels in 29 years, a feat unprecedented in the history of Jebba and Kanji hydroelectric power dams.

“The threat has created a high risk of imminent flooding in the downstream of the river”, Yushau Shuaib, NEMA’s  Head of Public Relations said in a statement.

“The residents of the communities are urged to move to higher grounds for safety,” he said.

He listed the states at risk of flood to include Niger, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Anambra and Delta, adding that the governments of these states had already been notified to take the necessary precautionary measures by relocating people from the flood-prone areas.

Mr. Shuaib urged the states’ governments to ensure that they activate the necessary National Contingency Plans, and alert stakeholders to take actions in line with their various mandates. He also asked the affected states to ensure strict compliance with NEMA’s directives in order to avert imminent loss of lives and properties that would certainly arise in the event of any disaster.

“Information available indicates that the gauge for monitoring the flow of water in the river has already exceeded the maximum height by over one meter”, the agency warned.

The 4,180 kilometre-long River Niger is  Africa’s third-longest river after the Nile and Congo Rivers, with the Benue River as its main tributary.

In September 2009, the Federal Government embarked on the dredging of the river to clear the navigational channel and keep the waterways free for year-round navigation and transportation of bulk cargoes.


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