The Minister of Water resources Mrs. Serah Ochekpe has urged people living at flood prone areas, especially Jebba, Shiroro and Kainji in Niger State to move away to avoid repeat of 2012 flooding.
Raising the alarm, yesterday in Abuja, during a stakeholders, meeting on flood warning, Ochekpe said the essence of the meeting was to sensitise the general public with a particular reference to people living around Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.
According to her, the ministry has taken measure to bring all the stakeholders together, following the alert received from the Transmission Company of Nigeria on the potential threat of flooding of the Kainji, Shiroro, and Jebba Dams.
She explained that the overflow of these dams could cause serious flooding in Niger, Kogi, and Kwara States.
“It is pertinent to note that we cannot afford to make the same mistake we made last year, where the flood caught us unprepared. To avoid this, people living close to flood prone areas, as a matter of urgency, should leave now before it is too late. We are calling on the media to help disseminate this message in a manner that will not create panic to the people, but would ginger them to move to a safer place,” she said.
“This meeting will therefore be able to address the issue from our different perspectives and come up with an implementable strategy for plan of action to sensitise the communities in the flood plains of the reservoirs of the Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba Dams within the cooperative framework of management of floods as part of our Inter-ministerial Emergency Preparedness for 2013 flood and Rainfall Prediction”.
Ochekpe further said that the stakeholders would put in place advocacy and sensitization programme on flood, using communication experts to visit the area to educate them on the need to move away from the flood areas.
In his remarks, the General Manager, Transmission Company of Nigeria Mr. Ciroma Joseph said the ongoing rehabilitation of Jebba Spillway channel funded by the World Bank under Niger Basin Water Resources Development and sustainable Ecosystem Programme requires that the spillway gates would not be operated until full execution of the rehabilitation works.
He added that considering the current advance stage of the work, spillway operation for flood management at this stage will damage and wash away all the works so far accomplished. However, he said the use of spillway gates may become unavoidable under emergencies where higher magnitude inflow beyond the capacities of alternatives discharge facilities.