Over the last few years seasonal flooding has killed hundreds, destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced millions of people through combination of heavier rains due to climate change and man-made problems which has contributed to devastating floods in communities.
In the last 20 months, according to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) over 1.9 Million people has been affected by flood across Nigeria , sighting refuse dumping in drainages and water ways , improper town planning among other causes of flooding .
Flooding in Kwara state ,North Central Nigeria comes with damages to properties and infrastructures sometimes worth millions of dollars, displacement of people, loss of sources of income, disruption of ecological habitats and sometimes loss of lives, though this level of destruction is not new in this part of the country.
As Nigeria rapidly urbanizes, towns and cities have sprawled with little regard for environmental concerns. As of now ,residents continue to build on water ways, erect houses without drainages ,Improperly dispose waste that creates unsanitary conditions adding carbon-based particles into the air.
Following the torrential rainfall that swept through Ilorin, kwara state capital recently, residents in some parts are decrying the repeated flooding they experience each time it rains. Residents in various pockets of the city reported localized flooding due to blocked drainages.
Dare Benjamin a staff of a financial institution, said recent flood made him “one who Squat around with friends because he cannot go to his apartment for fear of overnight flooding when it rains”.
A Fish farmer Ismail Kolade said “I have about five fish ponds and all has now been washed away by flooding caused by excessive rains.
Last year (2019) more than four local government areas of Kwara State were ravaged by flood, resulting from a downpour earlier while valuables worth millions of naira were destroyed.
Several acres of farmland and crops were also destroyed in communities such as Ipata-Jebba and Fangan in the Moro Local GovernmentArea; Belle, Bacita, Yalwa, Gbere and Fanagu. Residents of Amilegbe, Omosebi, Coca-cola and Offa Garage were also affected.
Another fish farmer Adewumi Abayomi who says he has been in the business in the last decade lamented the havoc wrecked by perennial flood causing hardship for him afterwards as his fish have been repeatedly washed away.
Mrs Akande Oluwabunmi a resident and a renowned trader who sells all kind of seafoods at Ipata market said “floods damaged electricity poles and our shops resulting is damages to my frozen food items “.
Also affected were business premises like the old KWACCIMA building on Unity Road, Omowunmi Cooperative Society building on Obbo Road, shops, residential houses, churches and mosques.
To mitigate the effect of perennial flooding in the state , Kwara state government has now restated its commitment to tackle the issue head-one. Its Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi gave the assurance in Ilorin during an on-the-spot assessment of debris evacuation on Asa River.
The deputy governor, who also visited some areas affected by flood along Coca Cola road, said the government’s commitment in tackling flooding was to safeguard the lives and property of the people.
Alabi advised members of the public to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the drainage and water ways saying dumping refuse on water channels blocked the free flow of water and led to flooding in some areas.
Also speaking, Mr Waheed Yakubu, Director of the State Fire Service, decried the unhealthy environmental attitude of some members of the public. He said that officers of the service had remained committed in the cleaning of the debris that blocked free flow of river water, particularly at the Unity Bridge area.
Kayode Oye Zubair, Senior Special assistant to Kwara State Governor on community intervention also bemoaned inappropriate handling of refuse saying government will assist in all the ways it can.
Residents of Kwara state living along river banks and low lands have now been warned to relocate to higher grounds as the country continued to witness more rain.
Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Muhammed Alhaji Muhammadu, speaking during flag off of distribution of humanitarian relief support to persons in about 528 households affected by rain/windstorm in four local government areas of the state in Ilorin also advised those in metropolitan areas to avoid indiscriminate dumping of refuse in culverts/drainages.
Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had earlier said 28 states, including Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Benue, are prone to impending flood disaster from September 6.
The NEMA boss, who also said that the people should adhere strictly to building codes in order to prevent flood, urged residents of Kwara state to ensure use of quality building materials for erecting structures, “this will at least reduce re-occurrence of disasters caused by storms. It is important for us to always reduce risk around us because prevention is cheaper than waiting to respond to any disaster.”