FLOOD: CAUSES AND HOW TO TACKLE IT


 Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.  This is an ever true statement applicable in all spheres of life. Flood is gradually becoming a Nigerian reality and Edo state as a case study.
According to NiMet prediction, “a normal to above normal’ rainfall is expected generally with an early false start.’’


The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who presented the SRP report observed that rainfall is expected to be near normal, heavy rainfall may result in flooding which could disrupt traffic, delay in construction activities and weaken or wash out the soil and culverts that supports roads, tunnels and bridges. Higher temperatures can cause the pavements to soften and expand which can create pot- holes particularly in high traffic areas and can place stress on bridges joints so drivers are advised to drive carefully especially during onset and cessation as the period is characterised by heavy down pour that can impede visibility,’’ (Source: Meteorological Agency predicts normal rainfall for 2020, By Ijeoma Nwankpa, Abuja. https://www.von.gov.ng/meteorological-agency-predicts-normal-rainfall-for-2020/ )


 The funny part is that our own version of flood is quite different from the one experienced in other countries. Its quite amazing that most of Nigerian floods are purely man-made. In a sense, we are creating the future we accurately predicted. This is puzzling to the sane mind. Even worse is the fact that there is a collective collaboration in this regard. Wait! Don’t judge me yet until reading the entire article.
 
THE TRUE BUT PREVENTABLE CAUSES

Tighten your seat belt for fear you may be knocked off your position as the blast of criticism hits you on the head. This article is not aimed at indicting any body or group of persons or institutions. My interest to write this article was born out of a deep concern to express a nagging issue. In my capacity as a real estate professional (www.chidiproperty.com), I do extensive surveying and inspecting of properties in different environments. I get terribly shocked each time I see indiscriminate human activities on the environment with dire consequences. Now consider the causes.


Greedy land speculators: Oh yes! I have to start with this one because they say charity begins at home. I am quite familiar with this one. I see evidence of this everywhere. Land speculators – when will your appetite for money ever come down? They know environments that are prone to flood, they know the terrain very well, they are familiar with the topography. If you doubt me, just look around for any good land speculator. Check where they built their houses. See if it is affected by flood. Most are wise enough not to build in any flood prone area. Yet, in their quest for money they sell properties in that area to unsuspecting and inexperienced buyers. These buyers gladly grab the opportunity to buy a seemingly cheap property. Yeah, that’s the bait – cheap. Moreso, it’s more difficult for buyers to spot erosion prone area when developments are yet to reach there. 

Determining the landscape is quite difficult, not for land speculators but, to buyers. Land speculators often chose the best part and then begin to sell the rest to people. The vegetation or bush around absorbs what could have been erosion – it goes down. But as development rushes to that zone the story changes. People buy land, build, fence, and floor their compound. 

This pushes water from that spot to the next available plot. Water/erosion must find a resting place, that’s nature. It goes to a lower plain. This action is repeated many times depending on the pace of development. Before you know it pools of water begin to gather in front or around your house. Perhaps you dismiss it without thought. The body of water continue to increase until it becomes a major concern to you. The property that you have spent probably your life savings is now under threat or rather you are threatened with eviction. This time not by a wicked landlord or rascal but by a more dreadful element – erosion. Ah! How does it sound in your ears? For those that were victims of flood it evokes a feeling of fear, anxiety and insecurity. My heart goes out to them. But this situation could have been avoided if they had employed the services of a competent real estate professional who would guide you through the process. Yes, a competent real estate pro with a good track record. Their judgment is helpful. They tell you where to buy and where not to buy. They know the terrain as well. They differ from greedy land speculators because they have their reputation or image to protect. So they would hardly mislead you. Your satisfaction as a buyer leads to more recommendation to the realtor. And more money for him in the long run. Now you can understand what I mean.


The bottom line is that greedy land speculators can even sell valleys, moat and low plain to buyers. Under normal condition humans are supposed to stay away from such areas -  they are the territorial integrity of water. Humans please stop invading their territory. Of course water fights back ferociously, chasing man out, sacking him without warning or pardon. Looking at the situation on a lighter note, it’s like a man chasing after a goat frantically. The goat runs desperately for its dear life, but when the goat hits a dead end or a wall, it turns back and faces the chaser with violent rage. Yes the table is turned. The chaser becomes the chased! 

The morale: out of greed, man chases water out of its natural abode but the water comes back again to face man fiercely, and without mercy. What goes around comes around. So, why are you people lamenting when there is flood? Did you care to listen when nature cried out philosophically?


 To understand this, go to the beginning of Uwadia street in Ugbighoko, upper ekenwan road. Go to  Uwelu or Egor. Go to Evbuotubu primary school area. Go to Eyaen primary school environ. Go to Leaders College road (go far inside some houses built on valleys). Go to Uselunahor, some low plains there and people are already buying that area. Some areas in Ugbor the landlords or landladies are still counting their loses as a result of flood. In fact, the list is inexhaustible.


Deliberate indiscriminate dumping of refuse: This is a common habit that is difficult to tame. People simply do not care. They dump refuse in water channels, blocking drains and exit  points. I have observed, with chagrin, how some individuals throw their waste out whenever it is raining, with the believe that erosion would dispose same. But they forget that erosion would only transport it to another location. What could be the possible causes of such a primitive attitude? Illiteracy? Ignorance? Nonchalance? Poverty? You decide!


The Government: I have reserved my last hot critical bullet for government. The government is sitting on the fence. Standing aloof. The government is supposed to have a master-plan of the city, state or country. With flood flash points clearly identified so that no building or human activity interferes with the delicate ecological balance. This way people would build and act according to the standard blueprint. Flood is naturally controlled. No fighting between man and nature!


But is that the case today? Far from it. People buy and build anywhere they like without regulation. Yes, they build on natural water channels. Even the type of building alters the delicate relationship between man and the environment. The government is supposed to regulate all of these. But are they doing that? Well, you know the answer. Some persons have reasoned that we are all involved in government or put simply and bluntly, you are the government. Well, such reasoning is no longer in line with modern Nigerian reality. 

Abraham Lincoln’s definition of government does not define the Nigerian situation or is contextually wrong. So, stop circulating this in schools. Let’s call a spade a spade. Well, let’s drop the argument, we can do that when we get back to class. Let’s return to the subject matter.

When flooding occurs people cry to the government. In turn, the government goes to the scene to observe the situation. Sometimes, they would try to control the flood using financial and other resources to tackle the erosion menace. Sadly, the money may run into billions! How many times have you heard the words “ecological intervention”? Hmm! We love vocabulary in this country.

From now till year end, pay attention to the new trending words associated with floods. When that happens, I would come back to update this article. The flooding this year is inevitable(shakes head). So be PROACTIVE, PREPARE and PLAN. Brace up for the challenges ahead.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The solution to the subject matter is in everyone’s consciousness. We all know what to do, but we just wouldn’t do it. Yes, we do not need a university scholar to give us a list of solutions. The individual knows what to do, Corporate bodies know what to do, the government knows what to do. The problem is that we have all thrown cautions to the wind. We simply don’t care.  

What a pitiable abysmal dismal!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rutherford Chidi is a real estate broker who could not suppress the insatiable desire to become a writer. He is currently working on a book that would be, hopefully, published by September, 2020. WATCH OUT!

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