The Flooding Crisis in Nigeria

Flood is one of the most common natural disasters in Nigeria. Its devastating effect cut across both the rural areas and neighborhoods where the high and mighty lives. In 2012 alone, floods caused more than N2.6 trillion in economic damage, much of which could be attributed to large-scale transboundary floods (from rivers Niger and Benue). In 2019, about 126 deaths were recorded, over 48,000 people were displaced, with property worth millions of naira destroyed.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has, in the past years, steadily continued to inform the Nigerian public on the flood outlook. The 2020 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO), released in May by the Nigeria Hydrological Survey Agency, revealed that no fewer than 102 local government areas in 28 states are at risk of flooding.

About 102 LGAs in 28 States fall within the highly probable flood risk areas, while 275 LGAs in the federation’s 36 States, including the FCT, fall within the moderately possible flood risk areas. The remaining 397 LGAs fall within the low probable flood risk areas. It was revealed in the report that in 2020, at least 129,000 persons had been affected, with 68 fatalities recorded. The number of affected people doubled compared to 2018. The flood incidents in 2012 were regarded as one of the most devastating occurrences as over 300 lives were lost, properties damaged, and 387,153 persons were displaced. 

In recent flooding occurrences, the OCHA reported that torrential rainfall, river floods, and flash floods have cumulatively impacted 192,594 people across Nigeria between September and October. About 826 were injured, and 155 fatalities have been recorded with 24,134 people reported to be displaced. Most of those affected were children. Extensive farmlands have also been washed away with a loss of crops amounting to billions of naira. These floods have impacted 22 states in the country’s six geo-political zones, with the highest occurrence in the country’s northern part.

The soil moisture regime of the lower-lying plains during the rainy season’s peak, the prevailing extreme weather conditions presumed to be associated with climate change, dam operations particularly outside the nation’s borders, and topography have promoted significant flooding in recent times. Inadequacies of the drainage system, poor compliance with or non-existence of land-use code, poor waste management are other significant reasons for the regular flooding disaster.

Jayeola Gbenga

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