I am still on the burning issue of the flood, a seemingly preventable disaster but the lackadaisical attitude of our leaders makes it happen with calamitous consequences. This is happening because the nation hardly demands accountability and transparency of the leaders’ affairs. Certainly, the day of reckoning will come here or in the hereafter, and we shall all be made to account for our deeds.
As promised last week, some additional reactions on the topic from the esteemed readers of this column would be published. Today, some of the reactions are presented to give other perspectives on the issue.
In addition to the reactions, a Lagos-based satellite television station, KAFTAN TV, requested an interview on the flooding issue. One of the questions was how to prevent floods from happening here in Nigeria. The highlights of my answer on flood prevention are done using the following measures:
• First, identification of the flood-prone areas and the likely severity. This has been done in the country over the years.
• Second, the removal of sediments, buildings, and any other obstacles on waterways preventing water from freely flowing.
• Third, removal of the silts, debris, and aquatic weeds from dams
• Rehabilitation of the dam’s embankment and repair water retention structures,
• Fourth, the construction of river diversion structures where such rivers become a threat to inhabitants.
• Fifth, we must clean our streets and remove the debris to appropriate places.
• Sixth, we must use media to campaign and mobilise people to undertake periodic environmental sanitation in their streets, gutters, and culverts.
• Seventh, government should sanction people who block waterways, gutters, drains, manholes,
Another issue of discussion, peculiar to other countries but common to Nigeria is underutilisation of the water retention structures such as dams. This causes instant floods with high destructive potential. The underutilization of several dams is another major cause of the flood. This is very surprising because dam projects are very expensive, always in billions of Naira but after completion, the nation leaves such projects grossly underutilized.
Most of these dams were constructed for irrigation, hydropower generation, and industrial and domestic supplies but 20 to 30 years after their construction, the irrigation facilities are less than 30% completed. I have not seen any of the large and medium dams whose irrigation facilities are up to 60% completion. Most of the large dams were designed with the provision for hydropower generation but more than 30 years after construction that provision was not put in place, for example, the Dadin Kowa dam, Tiga dam, Bakalori dam, Ikere Gorge dam, and many others. The major problem with our dams is poor maintenance as many of them are silted with 1000s of tons of sediments. The River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA), the agencies responsible for the operation and maintenance of these dams are in a shambles as they are grossly underfunded, understaffed, and lack adequate facilities to effectively operate and maintain the dams. Additionally, there is a lack of synergy between RBDA, the owners of the dams, the Agricultural Development Programs, agencies responsible for grassroots agricultural extension services in all 36 states, FCT as well as agencies under FMARD responsible for agricultural development in Nigeria. Bodies like the National Council of Agriculture and Water Resources are best described as annual jamborees, or platforms for banters when they are held. The authority and concerned stakeholders should have dispassionate look at these issues to change the way we are doing things.
I hope that this elaborate preamble and the readers’ reactions will help the esteemed readers of this column to fully comprehend the causes and preventive measures of floods in this country. Happy reading.
Prof, what is the way out of this beyond the FGN and state governments? What can the private sector, NGOs, and other UN Agencies and Foreign Countries with bilateral relationships with Nigeria do? How can they come in? The Netherlands is a country that is below sea level yet the Country is not prone to flooding. How? And why Nigeria?
Dr. Isaac Oghogho, Lagos
My prof the truth is like the sun over the head of every living creature, if you don’t see it, one day you must confess the heat. May the Almighty Allah continue to grant you his knowledge. Your views my professor are quite focal points. They are now carrying out a flood assessment survey in the affected communities. The question remains, are they sure to look critically at the findings made from the survey and put mitigating measures in place as well as push out palatable relief materials to the people to cushion the effect of the disaster?
We are just looking out to see God’s intervention.
God bless you, my prof.
Kingsley Ajaegbu, Porthacourt
Interestingly, you are fighting floods and we are fighting drought. Sad for all!
Dana Wise, North Carolina A&T State University, USA
Climate change contributes significantly to causing drought and flood in different places – My note
Well said Prof and you have pointed out the issue for all to see and take appropriate actions
Amb Abdullahi Bindawa
Nigeria has witnessed a climate crisis (floods) this year. The most devastating episode of seasonal floods resulted that, over 600 deaths and 1.3 million displacements from homes. It also led to the loss of crops which is the reason for the increase in food prices. The federal government should therefore provide relief materials such as food to check food inflation. This would assist the victims before taking technical measures on floods and other climatic /environmental hazards.
Great piece of an article
Prof Sani Miko
Well done for your untiring efforts toward enlightening the public on current developments in our world.
Prof. Abdulhameed Yusuf
This is so great sir. I salute
Dr. Sanusi Suleiman, Zaria
More ink to your pen Sir,
Yusuf Abdullahi Kakale, Zaria