By Onyebuchi Sampson
No fewer than 69 people lost their lives, while properties estimated at trillions of naira were destroyed as a result of the catastrophic event of flooding last year.
Similarly, about N2.67 trillion in economic terms was lost by the Federal Government as a result of flooding in 2012.
Director- General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Clement Onyeaso Nze, disclosed this at stakeholders’ Evaluation/Validation Workshop on the ‘Flood Vulnerability Studies and Hydro-geological Mapping of Nigeria Project in Hydrological Area V1 (Western Littoral project) Report submitted by Mecon Geology and Engineering Services Ltd, convened in Lagos by NISHA.
Nze said the consultant was commissioned to reduce the ferocity and destruction caused by these natural disasters.
According to him, Mecon Geology and Engineering Services Ltd, was asked to carry out detailed hydrogeological studies and flow regimes of major rivers across the country with a view to identify causes of and measures for reducing flood incidences as well as mapping out flood inundation areas cross the country for better river basin planning and flood plain management.
He stressed that the project covers all the states in the southwest and parts of Edo and Delta states.
The Director General noted that hydrogeological maps are important because they depict the extent of flood vulnerability or flood plain by showing boundaries of catchment areas of lower category in the main river basin.
To comply with world best practices standards and requirements for international acceptability of reports and maps, he said the evaluation /validation workshop is necessary for professionals in the fields of hydrology and hydrogeology.
On its part, Lagos State Government indicated preparedness to move against building on flood plains and other issues precipitating flooding in the metropolis.
Commissioner for the Environment, Tuni Bello , who disclosed this, at the event said the study carried out on flood vulnerability and hydrogeological mapping in the western littoral states of Nigeria, will help to develop scientific understanding and suitable tools for introducing the importance of ground water resources in the political and social development sphere.
Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Engineer Nurudeen Shodeinde said the report will help the state in understanding the best ways to tackle flooding and other hydrological and
hydrogeological challenges in Lagos with respect to its topography.
He urged residents to ensure protection of the environment by shunning disposal of refuse on the road or in drains.
The commissioner also threatened to pull down structures on flood right of way, advising that those who sand fill low lands, thinking that they can drive water away, should have a rethink because water will also find its level.
He said: “We are working with those in property development to ensure that when they reclaimed any land in Lagos, they should also provide water channels so that everybody will be happy.”