The floods that have affected various Jigawa communities in the past few months will continue to ravage the state unless certain measures are put in place, a minister said.
reported how the floods have led to the death of over 40 people, which officials said is the worst in the state since 1988.
Many officials, including President Muhammadu Buhari, have expressed concerns that the floods could worsen Nigeria’s current food insufficiency and lead to an increase in prices of basic food like rice.
Hadejia emirate in Jigawa, a rice-producing community comprising eight council areas, is the worst hit, as thousands of farmlands have been washed away by this year’s flooding.
Nigeria’s minister of water resources and rural development, Suleiman Adamu, has said the flooding is natural and no amount of budgeting can stop it from happening.
The minister was responding to a backlash that followed the flooding as many residents and experts criticised the minister for not doing enough in addressing the annual flooding in the state he hails from.
The official said “desilting a river is not a solution to flooding, it’s a temporary solution, it takes a lot of money. If all the budget of the federal government and Jigawa State are combined to desilt River Hadejia, we cannot achieve it.
“No power on earth can prevent the power of hydro pressure, no power can stop water, the power of water is stronger than an atomic bomb,” the minister said.
“Some of the solutions that people are talking about are technical issues because you cannot build a dam on River Hadejia again because it stops the flow of water downstream; the flow is going to be back upstream thereby creating more problems for the communities in the upstream,” the official said.
He added that “there are no short term measures to stop flooding but we can mitigate and do early warning. Every year we announce the prediction of floods, sometimes we are accurate, other times we’re not.”
“In the prediction, we cannot predict the quantum of the flood until it comes, we only do what is humanly possible. It’s the nature of things that floods must occur and there is nothing anybody can do to prevent flooding, what we can do is to mitigate the dangers.”
The minister added that the flooding followed torrential rainfall in the months of September and October which led to the soil being saturated.He also said that his ministry of water resources and that of environment are working together to see how they can mitigate the issue through an environmentally friendly approach by sensitising the residents on tree planting campaigns.
“We are suffering from neglect of our forest and water shade by cutting trees for decades. What we need now is to go back and restore the water shades and all the land degradations that we have done.
“If we plant trees in our water shades, then we stop the soil erosion and reduce the amount of soil that is going to drop into our rivers. This is a problem created for a very long period, it need more time to resolve,” the minister said.