If you thought Nigeria learnt from the devastation caused by the floods in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and While other nations of the world have devised several measures of combating the disaster, you’d be wrong. Nigeria has done practically nothing to stem the tide of the annual flood, which have become an annual occurrence in the country. At the moment, more than six states of the federation are heavily flooded. The floods have affected all human activities. Over 500,000 individuals have been displaced, more than 100 lives lost, over five thousand homes have been submerged while millions of Naira have been lost to the flood. In Bayelsa state, the state owned Niger Delta University is currently flooded including its hostels and the students have remained trapped inside their hostels.
The flooding in Nigeria remains unchecked because we have done practically nothing to prepare for this “annual ritual”. All the government does anytime it occurs is to provide palliatives, wait for the flood to go down and we move on. Findings have revealed that some of these buildings that were destroyed by floods are rebuilt the moment the water dries off and life continues, but of what value is this if these areas remain flood prone and the citizens refuse to be relocated.
Government agencies like the National Orientation Agency which is expected to carry out massive orientation about flooding all year round refuse to sensitize. Rather they wait till the rains begin before they start to educate citizens. It is important we change our strategies towards flood management in this country as the existing situation has not brought about any difference in the management of this natural disaster. The existing model is not working. It is expected that NOA embark on a year long sensitization on flooding while at the same time the federal ministry of environment in conjunction with state ministries embark on the marking and demolition of illegal structures on flood plains in their states while those planning to erect on flood plains are prevented from doing so.
It is also important these two agencies work in conjunction with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to make timely information available to Nigerians as NIMET has not defaulted in its activities as it constantly gives updates about the flood situation in the country. It is important we change the existing model towards flood management because it is not working.