Over 110,000 people in 24 communities were displaced by flood in Benue last year, 10,000 were affected in Kogi and there were also pockets of displacement and loss of properties in other states of the federation such as Borno, Niger, Oyo, Gombe, and Kaduna. Virtually every part of the country was affected.
In Lagos, highbrow locations like Lekki, Victoria Island and others were most affected, with residents seen paddling their way through, cars completely submerged, and houses overrun by water.
It is important for citizens and government alike to prepare for the coming rainy season so as to mitigate its effect. It could be argued that this is a global experience that is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but we cannot dispute the fact that we have not done enough to check flooding. The seasons are changing and becoming unpredictable, when the rains come, they pour like a sea of water while the sun burns deep into the skin. It is to our detriment that we treat with levity the issue of climate change, yet it is not too late to do something.
For us the flood is devastating and it could get worse if nothing is done before the rains come. This is why YMonitor – an affiliate platform under the umbrella of The Future Project interested in active citizenship and responsible government – is championing the campaign to call both citizens and government to action on what they must do to mitigate the effect of the oncoming rainy season.
Flood prone states especially have a lot to do, many of these states have abandoned their master plan while allowing citizens erect structures illegally. Before the rains come, it is important that states rise up to their responsibility bearing in mind that there is much to be done, and that can be done.
State governments, especially those that are affected by flooding need to be proactive, they should re-visit their masterplan and make amends where necessary. They should also partner with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency to disseminate information on weather situations and flash points. There is need for more enlightenment programs on the cause and effect of flooding with data and graphical illustration to aid understanding.
Citizens must also quit blaming the government and take responsibility for their environment. It is our collective duty to create and maintain a sustainable environment. The rains we cannot prevent, but we can manage the flood. This we must do before the rains come.