The renowned journalist, David Hundeyin recently did an article on the incessant floods over large areas of Nigeria that are usually the direct results of water being released from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon. In the well detailed article, Mr. Hundeyin went into the details of the agreement between Cameroon and Nigeria before the damming of the Benue river from the Cameroonian end was started and the agreement included the building of another smaller dam in Nigeria to absolve the effect of any excess water that may be released from the Cameroonian side. Mr. Hundeyin went on to pick holes in the usual blame game by successive Nigerian government officials who like to blame the Cameroonian government each time they release excess water from the dam.
The effect of the release of excess water from the dam has in most cases been direly negative and in most cases than not, lives and property have been lost.
These past few days, there has been clear misery imposed on the people who live along the Benue river in Nigeria from Benue state to Kogi, the confluence state where the two great rivers of Niger and Benue meet at Lokoja. The states below these two aforementioned ones even fare worse as they lay in the lower regions of the river courses, a large part of Anambra, Delta and Bayelsa are presently submerged under the flood from burst river banks and excess flow of water from other sources in this rainy season.
A professional colleague who travelled to Delta state on her way to Rivers state was trapped somewhere within the area for about a day as she and other travellers could not make their way through the flooded areas when she tried to go back to Warri a day after her business in Port Harcourt.
She had to take different means of transporting herself from PH as she had to be discharged by the mini bus that took them from PH to Warri, she also had to board canoes, take motorcycle and even had to board a truck in order to make the two and half hours journey which eventually took about twenty four hours to make it to her destination in Warri.
Onome Monije narrated her physical and mental ordeal as she and other travellers moved from Port Harcourt to Warri. She spoke about the suffering that the people that live in those areas faced with houses and roads being flooded, farms totally submerged with the attendant crop losses and cases where dangerous reptiles were seen in the flood. Now, we tell this story from a colleague to bring the effects of our government’s negligence closer home.
Now, forty five years after having an agreement with a neighbouring country to build a small dam that would have helped to improve the lives of the citizens and prevent human and material losses, the dam has been abandoned at over 80% completion. Well meaning persons would want to ask the pertinent questions about why the needed action of completing the shock absorber dam known as the Dasin Hausa dam was never completed in Nigeria.
Nigerians have always had to bear the effects of the ineptitude that has characterized different governments all through the history of the country and there is never a shortage of excuses on why things are not working out, but one wonders if this trend will continue as the national elections come up next year and Nigerians attempt to bring in a set of fresh persons to man the ship of state.
As at the 15th of October, about 2.5 million persons have been reported displaced by the excess water resulting from various flood points around the country and over 600 lives lost. The added effects of property losses including the crops and various facilities lost cannot be quantified as at this moment.
The federal, state and local governments need to start showing some level of responsibility in the way they handle issues of concern to the citizens and this includes the environment. They should start taking up their responsibility of putting up flood control measures and they can no longer stand aloof while the environment gets totally abused and degraded. Proper laws guiding human activities along river channels and flood plains should be put in place and enforced.
As of this moment, palliative measures that should cushion the effect of the losses incured as a direct result of the floods should have been directed at the affected persons by the various authorities.
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