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Nigeria’s Flood Challenge: What’s The Way Forward?

by InlandTown Editor
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One of the dominant disasters in Nigeria is Flooding.

Flooding in Nigeria has become a reoccurring phenomenon with destructive impacts on people and the environment (Doocy, Daniels, Murray, & Kirsch, 2013). It is a global problem that has worsened in Nigeria over time.

According to situation reports by the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Since 20 June 22, abundant rains are being recorded over localized areas in southern Nigeria, with a total amount of rains exceeding 100mm per day so far.

Floods have also started to be recorded in some parts of the area at risk, mainly in Northern localities and urban areas since the end of June 2022.

In recent updates, the floods in 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states and capital city have affected half a million people including 100,000 displaced, Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said. More than 500 have been injured, it said.

Indeed, in the past decade, especially during the last three years, there has been an observed pattern of flooding in Nigeria; floods becoming the second most recurrent hazard affecting the country, after the epidemics.

The high flooding period generally recorded from August to October is usually characterized by the collapse of major dams, overflow of riverbanks, and heavy occupation of residential areas or environment by a large mass of water due to heavy flow of run-off rainwater, uprooting and washing off residential buildings, blowing away roofs of buildings.

In addition, the rainy season also brings with it, landslides in which hills and high lands collapse burying people’s buildings and farmlands. Most times the causes are not far-fetched as they are mostly man-made.

A common environmental problem in Nigeria is flood and it is said to occur when a body of water moves over
and above an area of land which is not normally submerged. It could also be seen as the inundation of an area not
normally covered with water, through a temporary rise in the level of stream, river, lake, or sea.

Unlike some other natural disaster that is nearly impossible to control, flooding caused by rainfall can be controlled by proper urban planning and conscious actions.

In 2012, Nigeria experienced its worst flooding recorded in recent history. Total losses were put at US$16.9 billion. The significance of year 2012 disaster lies in the fact that they were unprecedented in the past forty years, most part of the central state of Nigeria and other adjoined states along the river Niger and Benue are devastated by these floods causing huge destruction to the rural and urban infrastructures such as farmlands, /crops, roads, buildings, damages, bridges, power lines, etc.) and socioeconomic lives of the areas.

Floods occur most times when the soil, streams, and man-made reservoirs cannot contain all the water.

READ MORE: Lagos Tells Residents Of Flood Prone Communities To Relocate

Some significant causes of flooding in Nigeria include:

1. Bad Drainage System: As mentioned earlier Nigeria’s flooding problems are mostly man-made. Most residential areas have no drainage channels.

2. Poor Urban Planning: Floods occur most times when the soil, streams, and man-made reservoirs cannot contain all the water. Due to increased urbanization, more areas are built with concrete and cannot absorb water, increasing runoff.

Nigeria is experiencing high urbanization rates without commensurate provision of urban infrastructure and amenities. Agricultural lands are increasingly being converted to residential areas to accommodate housing needs.

But there’s lax implementation of planning laws. One consequence of this is that there have been construction projects on natural floodplains and stormwater paths. This has exacerbated flooding.

3. Dumping of non-degradable wastes: Poor waste management is another recognized factor. Citizens’ poor attitude to waste disposal and non-provision of waste disposal services by municipal authorities contributes to flooding. It is not uncommon to have drains blocked by refuse such as plastics, bottles, etc that are non-degradable in urban areas. This in turn results in huge flooding when there is little rainfall.

4. Corruption: It is no news that we are in a corrupt state. Most projects allocated by the government are most times not executed, neglected, or poorly maintained. It is not uncommon for town planning officials to accept bribes and overlook issues. They often time sell properties that should be used for construction plans. Citizens then capitalize on this ineffective development control and go as far as building over approved areas for drainages.

What should be done about the menace?

Education they say is the best legacy. As much as there have been campaigns about the need for maintaining a clean environment to prevent flooding, this pursuit should be resilient. they should be functional drainages and the citizens must be compelled to abide by the rules.

Citizens can also be thought how to manage their waste by separating the bio-degradable waste from the non-biodegradable waste. This would lead to better recycling habits thereby enabling a more sustainable environment.

Urban planning is also a way forward.  The importance of urban planning cannot be overemphasized because of urban growth and the need for sustainable development in urban areas.

Nigeria according to research has been more focused on post-disaster flooding response rather than control.  Although the Nigerian government’s disaster risk management agenda has been charged with the responsibility of managing flood risk, however the results have not been encouraging despite the comprehensive post-disaster needs assessment conducted in 2012 by the federal government with international collaboration.


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