Curbing flooding in Nigeria

Flooding is a menace that has become a normal and reoccurring phenomenon in Nigeria which sometimes has devastating impacts on sources of human livelihood and infrastructural development. This menace is caused by issues such as rapid population growth, poor governance, poor drainage facilities and decaying infrastructures, lack of proper environmental planning and management strategies, the poor practice of dumping waste/refuse and climate change, coupled with inadequate preparedness, among others.

Human activities in terms of developmental involvement are adjudged to be very important factors in accelerating the rate of this disaster which often leaves in its wake spread of diseases, loss of thousands of lives in various parts of the country with properties worth billions of naira being destroyed. The impacts of floods are more pronounced in low-lying areas. In more recent years, 2011 and 2012 appear to record the worst cases of flooding in Nigeria with a lot of reported cases indicating how flood menace ravaged affected states of the country when water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon was released.

In many countries, rivers prone to floods are often carefully managed. Defence mechanisms  such as levees, bunds, reservoirs, and weirs are used to prevent rivers from bursting their banks. When these mechanism fail, emergency measures such as sandbags or portable inflatable tubes are used. Coastal flooding has been addressed in Europe and the Americas with coastal defences, such as sea walls, beach nourishment and barrier islands.

A dike is another method of flood protection. A dike lowers the risk of having floods compared to other methods. It can help prevent damage; however, it is better to combine dikes with other flood control methods to reduce the risk of a collapsed dike. The Netherlands is the world leader in flood control and has been battling the sea for centuries and new ways to deal with water are constantly being developed and tested. Projects such as the underground storage of water, storing water in reservoirs in large parking garages and even something as simple as turning a playground during normal conditions into a small lake during heavy rainfall weather all show how the Netherlands is actively trying to combat the increasing dangers of rising sea levels.

In the UK, the Flood Act of 2010 obliges builders to landscape developments so that water from roofs and driveways seeps into open ground rather than rushing into the water system. Guidelines suggest the ground should be able to absorb the water – a process known as infiltration.

Large “detention basins” can also be built to collect rainwater and hold it, managing the volume of water entering urban rivers, while ponds offer further water-holding capacity. In a nutshell, I would like to caution the government of the federation because of the aforementioned measures taken by some developed countries who have experienced the flooding menace but luckily enough have overcome it, to emulate the way which has been taken in these developed countries and address the menace of flooding in our country because we are approaching its saddest time.


  • Mallam Musbahu Magayaki, Bauchi State.


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