- October 19, 2022
- Posted by: Stephen Azubuike
- Category: Opinions
“Hello bro, how’s the flooding situation in Bayelsa?” I asked my friend and colleague whom I got on a call this afternoon. He replied, confirming that all we hear in the news are real. “The situation is quite bad”, he said. From our interaction, he revealed that he could see the water level rising in his backyard and on the expressway. He believes that the disaster is worse than we see from the reports. I advised him to prepare for the worst by picking up his valuables and getting ready to move. “It’s great to have faith, but you must be ready. Being proactive doesn’t make your faith weak.” The flood may not necessarily fail to reach your abode because of the look on your face”, I told him. He smiled, and agreed. Safety first! Before he got off the call, he revealed to me that the situation is really pathetic. According to him, the reptiles found swimming in the waters constitute danger to residents. Many lives are being lost. Caskets and corpses are found embarking on a swimming adventure from the graves. He decried the development in Yenegoa where houses were allegedly built illegally along waterways and the owners are currently victims of the flood, and left to rue the repercussion of their indiscretion.
Year 2022 is arguably the worst year since the flooding incident of 2012. From Bayelsa to Anambra, Delta, Rivers, Cross River, and other states in the North like Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Kwara among others, hundreds have died and millions have been affected as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Reports have it that flooding has wreaked havoc in about 27 States out of 36 States in the country.
According to Financial Times report, the floods “were exacerbated by the release of excess water from the Lagdo dam in neighbouring Cameroon.” Other causes are the rise in sea level and tidal surge especially in the coastal areas.
At the end of the day, the Government must be held responsible. This is notwithstanding that flooding could be safely categorised as a natural disaster. However, a responsible Government at all levels needs to take proactive steps to ensure that certain disasters are reasonably curtailed and where necessary, completely avoided.
From the reports, Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Federal Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development appears to be heaping the blame on States and Local Governments for allegedly failing to take precautionary measures. But information available in the Nigeria’s National Policy on Climate Change, published in 2020 by the Federal Ministry of Environment (Department of Climate Change) already acknowledges lack of adequate infrastructure. In the 2020 Policy document, it was stated that:
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. Sea level rise may lead to increasing coastal inundation and flooding of low-lying areas. Unfortunately, many States in Nigeria largely lack the infrastructure necessary to respond adequately to such events.
Obviously, there had been multiple predictions of the imminent flooding going by the above and the warnings issued by other local and international agencies such as the UN and NEMA. In the 2020 Policy document, “flood” appeared 48 times and “flooding” appeared 8 times.
In the National Climate Change Policy for Nigeria (2021-2030), published in 2021, it was acknowledged that the 2019 Climate Risk Index published by the Germanwatch Organization classifies Nigeria as a region of high risk, and indicates that the country is one of the top most vulnerable countries in the world.
Now, the Government has reportedly warned that the already affected States could suffer more flooding in November 2022 and has urged State and Local Governments to prepare adequately by evacuating people living on flood plains to high grounds, and to provide tents and relief materials, freshwater as well as medical supplies in order to deal with possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
In the same vein, the Lagos State Government has advised residents of the State, especially those residing on the banks of Ogun River to relocate upland. The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, identified specific areas as follows: Ketu, Alapere, Agric, Owode Onirin, Ajegunle, Alagbole, Kara, Isheri Olowora, Araromi Otun Orisha community, Agiliti, Maidan, Mile 12, Odo Ogun, Owode Elede, Agboyi 1, Agboyi II, Agboyi III.
This is not the time to question how to prevent a church rat from eating a poisoned “holy communion” but all hands must be on deck to prevent our people from the catastrophic consequences of flooding and climate change by actively seeking the full implementation of the National Policy on Climate Change.
Featured image credit: The Cable