Recent Flooding In Nigeria


"Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?"

If you are like me, you are unable to answer questions like this because you like to take things one step at a time.

Right now I am wondering, if someone asked me this question 10 years ago, how would I have responded?

Will you go back in time with me?

10 years ago, I was in junior secondary school. Unbothered whether or not " Adulthood na scam", and knew nothing about the 2012 flooding in Nigeria that killed over 363 people and displaced over 3 million people.¹

Like most kids my age, I believed that in 10 years or the nearest future, I would be a doctor and stroll around in a white coat with some sort of 'wired telephone' hanging around my neck. Yeah, that didn't happen.

Let's take another time travel to July 2012 and ask the victims of, what was until this year, the most devastating flood in Nigeria;

"Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?"

Whatever their answers will be, I bet that in 2012 they didn't think that in 10 years, (now, 2022) they will be battling even more disastrous cases of flooding in their cities.

But here we are.

Tell me History is repeating itself without telling me History is repeating itself.

The Recent Flooding in Nigeria 

Over the past few months, many states such as Kogi, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, and Benue etc in Nigeria have been wrestling with severe flooding.

According to the Federal Ministry of  Humanitarian Affairs, ² since this year's severe flooding started in September, ³

– About 600 people have died.

– Over 1.3 million persons have been displaced.

– A total of about 200 000 houses have been affected, with 82 000 completely damaged.

– about 332 000 hectares of farmland were destroyed along with the crops.

These are more than just numbers.

These figures could double as the number of teardrops for people who lost their loved ones to the flood.

It also means millions of people are homeless, jobless and very much with a little less than a thread of hope. Add these to the depression of losing billions of investments, and the anxiety of an uncertain future.

We must also bear in mind that Food scarcity is threatening as large farmlands have been lost to floods.

This Climate crisis is more about the environment, it's about real people experiencing real pain.

Causes of the Recent Flooding in Nigeria 

Perhaps, the most debated topic about this climate crisis is "What is the cause of the Flooding?"

Although there are many speculations, the truth is, there are many hands on deck, on this one.

  • Drainage Systems

While it is easy to name the drainage systems as the first culprit for the recent flooding in Nigeria it is important to note that other factors are at play.

Drainages may help reduce the effects of flooding, but flooding occurrences that are severe enough to fully submerge houses are beyond the issue of "drainages".

According to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the 2012 flood in Kogi state was at a water level of 12.84, but in the recent flooding this year, the water level rose to 13.22.

In other words, water levels are rising which means there is more water in the environment and this is usually due to heavy Rainfall and/or other water bodies e.g dam release, not drainage systems.

  • Climate-Induced Rainfall

When it comes to Flooding, Rainfall becomes an unavoidable topic. As natural as it is to experience Rainfall, the drastic change in climatic conditions has taught us that the Rainfall we have been experiencing in recent times is way above "normal".

Before the flooding, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) did its job of forecasting heavy Rainfall and potential flooding conditions in some northeastern communities.

The Climate-induced Rainfall is not only evidence of the rapid changes in the climate, they are the cause of heavy rainfalls which releases more water into the environment than certain infrastructures can withstand.

  • The Lagdo–Dasin dam Controversy 

With the excessive rain, it is almost normal to have a dam release the excess water it holds, but the water must flow somewhere. This is why the Lagdo–Dasin dam is so significant to the discussion of flooding in Nigeria. 

If you are a fan of history, and if you are not, I will try to narrate this story as best I can.

In the 90s, Nigeria and her neighbouring country–Cameroon came together to develop a 2-phased dam project to protect both communities from the impact of floods.

The Lagdo Dam for Cameroon, and the Dasin Hausa Dam for Nigeria.

From 1977–1982, Cameroon delivered its part and the Lagdo Dam was completed. While the Lagdo dam releases its excess water to prevent flooding in Cameroon, the Dasin dam would be a bufffer and a reservoir for the Dam release and prevent overflow into the neighbouring Nigerian communities, while serving as a source of irrigation to the surrounding farmlands .

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Quite unfortunately, the Nigerian government is yet to construct the Dasin dam, for about 40 years now. 

The Summary?

Every year there is heavy Rainfall, the Lagdo dam is sure to be released and with the absence of the Dasin dam, the North-Eastern communities of Nigeria e.g. Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa etc, become the flood path for the water released.

This is probably where you should join me to sing this wish:

"Rain Rain, go away,

come again another day,

we don't have the Dasin dam"

The Recurring Problem of Flooding

"The fact that it happened in 2012, and is happening again in 2022 does not mean it will happen again in 2032. But that could be a pattern.
It would be shameful if we get hit like this again and we can not handle or deal with it better"
– Mayokun Iyaomolere
Founder, Plogging Nigeria Club

Nigeria is not new to the effects of Flooding, and neither are we particularly blind to the causes of this problem.

But, it seems, even though Climate Crisis is serving us with the speed of Wi-Fi, we are responding with our Bluetooth-speed actions.

What then is the way out of this flooding crisis?

The old saying "prevention is better than cure" is most applicable.

But in Nigeria's particular situation, it will require both the prevention of future occurrences and the cure to the current situation.

We must walk on the feet of Mitigation and Adaptation instead of limping on one foot.

Our next article will show you the steps that can be be taken with these feet.

— ADEYEMI Joy Ifeoluwa 

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