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Massive floods to sweep South Eastern States, Lagos, others-NIHSA

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, has predicted that massive floods will sweep across the five South Eastern States and many other parts of the country between September and October this year.

The agency which gave the warning on Tuesday, advised residents of flood-prone areas to begin relocation because according to it “heavy rains will precipitate the flooding leading to destruction of property and likely loss of lives”.

The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Clement Nze, said that 275 local government areas of the 774  would be moderately hit by the flood while 102 councils will be worse-hit.

Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Kogi are on top of the list of states to witness major flooding.

Others are Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara,  Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina,  Kebbi, Nasarawa,  Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe  and Zamfara states.

All the local government areas in Lagos, except Epe  and many parts of Ogun State, the agency said, would be badly affected.

NIHASA said governors of the states had been advised to begin immediate evacuation of residents in areas to be affected.

The NIHSA DG blamed the construction of houses on flood plains for the heavy flooding experienced in some parts of Abuja last week.

According to him, some lives and property were lost at  ”the Sunday Adewusi Estate in the  Dei Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, because it  was built on a flood plain.” The estate is owned by the police.

Nze  said what was required before now across the country was  proper drainage and demolition of structures on flood plains.

He said the flooding  experienced so far in parts of the country was as a result of constant rainfall, warning that the effect of any nation  in the Niger Basin releasing  water from its dam(s) might be too devastating for Nigeria, if nothing was done now.

He further said: “The month of June is usually the period of effective rainfalls and the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

“Nigeria is downstream of all the countries in this basin. The months of July, August, September, and October are also known as JASO months signifying heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood disasters in most parts of the country

The floods are often aggravated by the trans-boundary inflow of rivers Niger and Benue from outside the country before they empty into the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria.

“As early as June, severe flooding incidents with attendant destruction and loss of lives were recorded in certain parts of the country.

This has continued unabated even when the country is still more than two months away from the peak of rains with the attendant flooding incidents associated with those months.

“NIHSA wishes to use this medium to advise state and local governments, stakeholders, multinational companies and public-spirited individuals and philanthropists that all hands should be on the deck to save the country from the consequences of flood pandemic in the year 2020.

“The country still has many days of rainfall in the course of the year. More floods are still expected in the months of August, September, and October.

In the event there is a release of excess water from the dams in other countries upstream rivers Niger and Benue, this will have more negative impact on Nigeria which is located downstream other countries in the Niger Basin.

“Therefore, blocked drainages and gutters should be cleared, river channels dredged and structures within the waterways and flood plains and flood paths pulled down.

“According to the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction released earlier in the year by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, the earliest cessation date for rainfall in the southern part of the country is December 28th, while September 26th is the earliest cessation date for rainfall in the northern part of the country.”

Speaking on flooding in Lagos and Ogun states, Nze said: “On the average, Lagos and Ogun states are expected to have 255 days and 232 days of rainfall respectively in 2020.

While Lagos state suffers from a combination of coastal, urban and river flooding, Ogun state suffers from urban and river flooding.

“The picture presented above means that relevant agencies of the Lagos and Ogun states should brace for possible flooding incidents in the coming months. The country cannot afford to suffer another pandemic within a pandemic.”

Lagos State, early in the month, warned residents of four local government areas, especially those living on flood plains, to vacate their homes immediately. Those in 15 other councils also got the warning.

Environment and Water Resources Commissioner Tunji Bello listed the councils to be worst-hit as Lagos Mainland, Mushin, Ibeju-Lekki and Ikorodu.

Bello explained that the local governments were identified as “highly probable flood risk in 2020”.

In a statement, Mr. Bello said the four listed councils will witness high intensity rainfall between now and September.

He urged residents with structures in low land areas to relocate without delay to avoid any untoward incident that may come with flooding and loss of lives and properties.

Quoting from the Annual Flood Outlook released by the Hydrological Services Agency on May 28, Bello identified 15 other local government areas as those at flood risk this year.

The local government areas put on the red alert are: Lagos Island, Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin, Ikeja, Kosofe, Eti-Osa, Apapa, Ojo, Oshodi/Isolo, Agege, Ifako Ijaiye, Badagry, Surulere and Ajeromi-Ifelodun.

Bello assured that the ministry would intensify ongoing efforts at clearing silted drains as exemplified by the efforts of the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) all over the black spots in the state.

He advised residents to refrain from indiscriminate discharge of waste and to stop patronizing itinerant cart pushers.

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NIGERIA

Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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NIGERIA

Nigerian Navy deploys 6 warships, 60 gunboats for operation in 4 States

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships and 60 gunboats for a special military exercise.

The drill targets pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalizes in the nation’s waters.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, made the announcement.

He spoke at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State

The operation code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ means ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.

The States to be covered are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.

The commander explained the operation would consolidate ‘Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II’

Adeniran added that the purpose was to train personnel and check the state of preparedness of fleets.

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NIGERIA

Buhari reports Boko Haram, bandits to UN

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told the international community that Nigeria was still battling Boko Haram and bandits.

Buhari’s message was contained in his pre-recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He urged countries to take a strong action against illicit flow of small arms and light weapons.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria counts on cooperation with neighbours and UN counter-terrorism bodies to overcome terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.

The President said his administration will sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

On COVID-19, the Nigerian leader added his voice to supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for all.

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