Floods: we’re clearing blocked waterways — NIWA

With the rains around again, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has said that it has embarked on clearing waterways that are blocked to ensure the free flow of water and avert a repeat of last year’s flood disaster.

The Managing Director of the Authority, George Moghalu, who stated this after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, said people along the waterways are also being sensitized.

He told correspondents that the Authority wanted to be proactive by identifying critical areas and apprising people so they are not caught unawares.

He said: “Proactively, what we are doing is to, first of all, sensitize the people, identify the critical areas and get people to know what will happen with time.

“With regards to clearing, yes, water hyacinths are being cleared on a regular basis, wrecks are removed, channels that are blocked, we do everything we can, within the limits of our resources to open up those channels so that we can have an easy flow of water during this period.”

He affirmed that floods are of serious concern looking at what happened last year in the country.

“It was of great concern to us as an agency of government that has something to do with water and flood. So, what we started doing proactively was first of all to start aspects of sensitization, getting people to understand because we have a department in our office that monitors flood flow, looks at the floodplain and gives us a report on a monthly basis or bi-weekly basis, to my office and then the department that is responsible will now develop the data, which we’ll now use to sensitize the people, keep them informed of the possible flood-prone areas so that people will have to leave those locations.

“At the same time also, like you may be aware, we have 23 area offices across the country. So, what we are doing, in terms of opening blocked channels, is using the area offices across the country, identifying those areas where we have blocked channels and then within the limits of our own resources and capabilities, we start opening them up so that they have a free flow of water.”

Moghalu said wrecks and floating debris are being removed from various locations across the country as they are identified.

He added: “We do the basic survey and once we identify them, we set the process in motion to remove them. We’re doing some now as we keep identifying them, and you know these things like what hyacinth, like wrecks, like floating debris, are not fixed items that you will say ‘I will remove now and it won’t be there again.

“You can remove a wreck tomorrow and by next tomorrow, another wreck will come. What are these wrecks? Broken down vessels that are condemned, logs and what have you. So, as we identify them, using a survey, identify the coordinates, the next thing we do is to set in motion the process of removing them.

“As we speak, procurement processes have been concluded and some are being removed while as we identify, we set in motion the process of removing. We see them as a challenge and we are attacking them.”


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