As most states in Nigeria continue to witness heavy flooding and its attendant consequences, environmentalists have started suggesting ways to curb the menace, which some have described as natural disaster.
Their advice is coming on the heels of many homes and cities across Nigeria being ravaged by flood.
Only last week, flood hit several communities in Bayelsa state, leaving no fewer than 150,000 persons displaced, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), disclosed.
According to Suleiman several homes, farmlands, schools and churches were submerged in the affected communities across eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
Similarly, flood wreaked havoc in Ilorin Township last week, as over 200 residential houses were submerged with hundreds of victims displaced and rendered homeless.
The most affected areas are Aduralere and lsale Koko communities in the llorin East local Government area of the state.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that hundreds of residents of the affected communities are now taking refuge in churches, mosques and residence of some neighbours, who were not affected by the flood.
Some of the affected residents told NAN that the downpour, which lasted for several hours, made water to overflow the drainage channels that cut across the two communities.
The happenings are confirming a recent revelation by the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which alerted Nigerians to be ready to prevent and manage flood incidents as the country is now in the peak of rainy season.
According to the Acting Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Ahmed Bashar, the flood level and the discharge of River Niger has continued to increase.
Reacting, Mr. Lawal Rasheed, an environmentalist, called for proactive measures from the government and the public to forestall perennial flooding in the country.
Rasheed, who is the climate change advocate and co-chairperson of the Advocate for Clean Climate and Environment, a non-governmental, said this had become imperative following the recurring incidents of floods in some states across the country.
The environmentalist said that the adoption of both pre-emptive and preventive measures would be necessary to mitigate the yearly flooding incidents in the country.
He said that the preventive actions should be geared toward forestalling incidents of extreme rainfall.
“Some of the preventive measures are the construction of drainage systems, canals, proper waste disposal, avoiding constructions on waste water channels and clearing the water ways,’’ he said.
He said the preemptive measures, which are usually done during the rainy seasons should involve the government and private individuals.
Rasheed said that the preemptive measures should be embarked upon with seriousness as the rainy season commences.
“The preemptive measures should include the clearing of accumulated waste and sand from the drains and sewer systems, as well as the demolition of structures and shanties along the water ways.
“Ensuring that waste waters flow through the right channel and the mending of broken canal walls are also great pre-emptive measures.’’
He said that both the government and the individuals should regard the preventive and preemptive measures as their responsibilities.
In his view, Mr Johnson Eduno, a geologist, advocated installation of flood warning systems to give people more time to act during flooding and also save as an advance warning to reduce the impact from flooding.
According him, flood warning alert device would facilitate efforts to send flood signals to the government and those living in flood-prone areas, adding that this could save people’s lives and property on time.
“If this could be installed on major rivers across the country, flood incident would be reduced,’’ he said.
Eduno, therefore, called on the Federal Government to strengthen hydrological services agency with modern device such as Water Quality Network to enable the agency to detect flood on time for quick response.
He said the recurrence of flooding in the country was because of insufficient water reservoirs to mitigate the menace of flood.
The geologist also urged states and local governments to play their own roles by constructing earth dams, artificial lakes and reservoirs to check flood.
Source: Daily Independence