As we reach the heart of the rainy season, the Jigawa State governor, Umar Namadi, has said his administration is doing all necessary to mitigate the annual flooding and its impacts in some parts of the state.
The governor, who was speaking on a Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) live programme on Tuesday, said a flood assessment committee inaugurated almost a year ago has come up with recommendations to reduce the impacts of flooding.
He said his government is working on the recommendations of the committee, among which include the dredging of nearby rivers and clearing grasses on the waterways that slow the flow of water.
Last August, torrential rain led to flooding. More than 100 people were killed, and thousands more were displaced. Many families lost their homes, livestock, and farmlands. The floods also destroyed infrastructures like dams and bridges and washed away several roads.
“As a government, we are constructing culverts and drainage in towns to enable the free flow of water. A technical committee set up has recommended more embarkment at flood-prone areas to ensure that the communities are protected; that is what we have been doing for a long, and we have covered about 85 kilometres of embarkment.
“The embarkment is not less than 2.5 metres high and less than four metres thick as recommended by the technical committee; we have covered 35 communities within eight local government areas and a distance of about 85 to 90 kilometres (doing the embarkment).
On the clearing of the waterways, Mr Namadi said the total kilometres between the upstream area in Jigawa and the downstream area in Yobe State is about 418 kilometres and trimming projects of the World Bank has done (desilting of the river and clearing of the waterways) about 95 kilometres in 27 months.
“To serve the situation, the Jigawa state government have commenced the clearing up of grasses using the state-acquired excavator machines that have covered 36 kilometres within four months, and there are about 323 left; this is something that must be done.
“The Hadejia Jama’re River Basin Development Authority bought two more excavators for the state. Every day the four machines dredge 250 meters; this is part of the effort being made,” he said.
According to the governor, recent surveys showed that the dam’s capacity could only hold 2.2 billion cubic meters of water – meaning that about 700 million cubic litres of water must flow out, in that regard, destroying farmlands and houses and affecting the communities negatively.
“The federal authorities must understand this challenge and do something about it. The clearing exercise being embarked upon by the Jigawa state government is capital-intensive; we are planning to cover 300 kilometres.
“This is what we need to understand and act collectively, and the authorities need to take the warning given by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), not telling the states that there is going to be rain or flood but what can we do as a country to help the situation?
“The rivers are not being maintained for long periods, and the state has limited resources to maintain the rivers. Jigawa state has swung to action in addressing the flooding, but has limitations,” the governor appealed.
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