By: Prudence Okonna
To reduce the impact of floods, improve economic activities all-year round as well as save lives and properties, Nigerian Engineers have been tasked to come up with innovative solutions to maximise excess water that may result from flooding across the country particularly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola, gave this challenge Monday, at an emergency stakeholders meeting on flood mitigation, organised by the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), held at the FCDA conference hall, Central Business District, Abuja.
Adesola decried the extent of destruction being witnessed due seasonal floods, which can be averted, if Engineers are able to come up with solutions on how to channel the excess water to other viable economic activities.
His words: “I want to challenge our Engineers to come up with innovative solutions on how we can use the excess water for economic activities like tourism and all-year farming instead of allowing it to destroy lives and property”.
He frowned at some activities of human-elements, such as indiscriminate disposal of refuse, causing alterations in land development; including diversion of water from its natural courses, building on flood plains, and blockage of water channels.
The Permanent Secretary, therefore, called on residents to desist from buying lands not duly allocated by the Land Administration Department, especially if it is on waterways.
“Always confirm the situation of the land before you buy, desist from buying lands from the Chiefs and Area Councils because they don’t have the authority to allocate or sell land,” Adesola emphasized.
He reiterated the importance of carrying out proper zoning of flood plains to reduce urbanization by restricting people from building or erecting any structure at these hazardous locations that could cost lives and properties.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director General of FEMA, Dr. Idriss Abbas, revealed that FEMA intends to train its local divers across the six Area Councils at the Jabi Lake and Moshood Abiola Stadium swimming pool, to acquaint them with modern techniques of water rescue in any case of eventuality.
Abbas appealed to Area Councils to strengthen the local emergency committees; noting that the committees have indeed made the work easier for FEMA overtime, in view of their critical roles at the grassroots.
Making a presentation on the Abuja Master Plan and Flood Control measures, the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Hadi-Ahmad, said seven bridges were required to address the annual flooding in Galadimawa District, Abuja.
The Executive Secretary, who was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Director, Engineering Services, Engineer Richard Yunana Dauda, said the FCDA was carrying out a total Hydrological Survey of the city to identify all sources of water run-offs and erosion control measures.
In a goodwill message, the Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clem Nze, revealed that the 2023 flood outbreak placed FCT in a high probable flood risk area.
According to the Director, Forecasting Response and Mitigation, FEMA, Florence Wenegieme, the goal of the meeting is to synergize with critical stakeholders in the FCT and come up with a robust working plan that would serve as a guide in preparing for the floods.