The 2023 Annual Flood Out- look released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency ( NIHSA) has listed Abuja as one of the highly probable flood-risk areas in the country.
The outlook revealed that apart from the nation’s capital, there are several other communities spread across 178 Local Government Areas that are flood prone in the country. This prediction has once again, triggered anxiety among residents of Abuja especially those living on flood plains and water channels.
Although official re- ports from relevant authorities, showed that Abuja recorded zero death during the flooding in 2022, residents are still worried about how they would survive when the floods eventually come. Many residents believe that a lot of efforts would be needed, to prevent the annual flooding men- ace in the Federal Capital Territory.
Inside Abuja’s findings revealed that human activities in various parts of Abuja, had resulted in blockade of water channels and drainages. Moving around places like Mabushi, Apo-Dutse, Jabi, Nyanya and Karu, one could sight drain- ages that are already filled up with solid wastes.
There are serious worries that, if no proactive measures were taken, flooding may not be averted. The FCT Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA) has con- firmed that many drainages have been blocked with refuse dumped by people. Recently, when the agency embarked on flooding awareness campaign in Jabi District, officials were startled to see that many drainages in the area have been covered with wastes.
Director General of the Agency, Dr. Abbas Idriss who led other officials to assess the condition of the drainages, decried the poor management of the environment in Jabi District. The DG, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Special Duties, Abubakar Dantani Ododa, said the efforts of the government to prevent flooding in the city, was greatly threatened by the actions of the people.
He said that drainages in the area visited were poorly managed as most of the water passage were blocked by solid waste which makes the environment prone to flooding.
Inside Abuja learnt that the poor sanitary conditions of the place, was also capable of instigating the outbreak of an epidemic. He appealed to the Abuja Environ- mental Protection Board ( AEPB) to urgently address the sanitary challenges in the area enjoined residents to be part of efforts to prevent flooding in the Federal Capital Territory.
The relevant stakeholders in emergency management are not resting on their oars. FEMA being the coordinating agency for emergency responders, has assured that it was already on red alert. Director General of FEMA, Dr. Abbas Idriss, disclosed that the agency intends to assess the infra- structural improvements made by the Federal Capital Development Authority,(FCDA), and other stake- holders towards preventing or mitigating the impact of flooding in the Federal Capital Territory.
“All hands are on deck to ensure that floods, even when it happens, would not be devastating. “You will see that since the last rainy season, we are still working to remove shanties to open the blocked waterways to allow free flow of water when the rain comes,” he said.
According to him, the ongoing demolition exercise is premised on an assessment and findings on blockage of waterways with illegal structures. “This helped in 2022, which is why we did not have any fatalities from flooding in the FCT. We are expecting the same this year and we are already working to mitigate the impact of floods..
“We therefore call on residents of the FCT to support this action and stop disposing of waste indiscriminately and also building on the waterways. We shall continue to remove any illegal structure that’s built against the Master plan,” he said.
Houses on water channels
Inside Abuja’s check revealed that some of places where structures were demolished because they blocked water channels, certain people have resumed construction of more illegal structures there. A visit to Dutse Makaranta where many houses were removed from flood plains, more have been built on these same places.
Inside Abuja learnt that following the failure of some residents to heed all warnings over the flood fore- cast in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration ( FCTA) will continue with the aggressive demolition of buildings constructed along water ways. Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, disclosed that the government had resolved to continue with demolition of illegal structures on all water channels. Attah who expressed utmost dis- gust that occupiers and owners of the buildings on waterways in the community have deliberately re- fused to heed warnings, said the administration was wielding the big stick to save lives, properties and environment.