Experts proffer solutions to perennial flooding in Nigeria

CLIMATE change experts who participated in a Twitter space organised by The ICIR have highlighted some possible solutions to perennial flooding in Nigeria. 

The Twitter space themed ‘Providing Sustainable Solutions to Nigeria’s Perennial Flood Crisis,’ was held on Thursday, July 20.

In 2022, Nigeria experienced one of the worst flooding incidents in decades as 35 states and the FCT were affected by floods, leading to loss of several lives and damage of properties. Thousands of people were also displaced from their homes and hectares of farmland were destroyed in the process.

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Speaking on solutions to the perennial flood crisis, a flood risk consultant, Taiwo Ogunwumi, explained that the Federal Government needs to emphasise the importance of domesticating the climate change policy to the states.

“It’s true that the climate change policy was signed a few years ago, but then when you look at it, you will realise that most of the states are yet to practice that, even in terms of tree planting, creating programs that support teaching towards renewable energy, that is not highly common in most of the states.

“There is a lot that the Federal Government needs to do to ensure that this law is effective in each of the states. I believe that the Federal Government still has supremacy power over some of the states and if this is part of the targets that they give the states to accomplish, I believe the state will have no other option than to ensure that they are meeting up with this.”

He also noted the need for federal ministries to collaborate with the state ministries in mitigating the effect of flooding.

Speaking further on flood prevention measures, Ogunwumi said the problem must be addressed from the grassroots, adding that the government should work on sensitisation and providing alternative solutions to the locals.

“I think we don’t start from the grassroots when it comes to reducing emissions; we must start from the grassroots and that is the state and local levels. You will still find out that some of the local communities still burn fossils, they still go to the forest to cut trees and some of these create emissions. If there is no sensitisation on what this activity causes and no other alternative is provided to the people, it will be difficult for us to achieve some of these goals.”

Ogunwumi, however, advised the government to work with private enterprises and non governmental organisations (NGOs) to effectively develop policies and regulations to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“I think there are many resourceful private organisations in Nigeria who really want to do more but you realise that the state and federal governments don’t allocate funds to them to bring out the best.”

The Chuef Executive Director of International Climate Change Development Initiative, Olumide Idowu while speaking on the effects of climate change in Nigeria, said Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) need to start looking at ways they could influence important decisions and policies.

He also bemoaned the lack of proper implementation of policies by the government, adding that CSOs should collaborate to bring an end to perennial flood crisis.

“It’s very important for CSOs to leave the conversation of competition and start looking for a collaborative effort so that we can demand justice for flooding issues in Nigeria. 



    “The civil society also has to come together and talk more on the kind of emergency response that’s needed for people rather than giving N3,000 to displaced people.”

    On February 17, 2023, the Federal Government revealed that 32 states, 178 local government areas (LGAs), and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may experience heavy flooding in 2023. 

    The states with the highest likelihood of facing flooding include Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, and Edo.

    Following the forecast, The ICIR did a series of investigations, visiting Niger, Jigawa, Benue, Bayelsa and Kogi states to investigate the measures being taken by state governments and local communities to address and mitigate the looming threat of flooding. Read the investigations here.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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