May 13, 2023

Impending flood disaster: How prepared are the states?


By Our Reporters

The rains are here already. Soon the rains will become torrential. Severe  floods will travel the length and breath of the country wreaking havoc.

Lives and farmlands will be swept away. Houses will be submerged and thousands of people will be rendered homeless.

According to official figures released by the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Ahmed, last year’s floods resulted in 665 deaths with 3,181 persons injured nationwide.

A total of 4,476,867 persons were affected, 2,437,411 persons were displaced and about 944,989 farmlands were damaged while 355,986 houses were partially or totally destroyed.

Providing insights into what to expect in this year’s rainy season, the Director General said: “The reality is that this year may witness floods similar to what occurred last year if not more.”

626 LGAs in danger

At the presentation of the 2023 climate-related disaster preparedness and mitigating strategies in Abuja, the NEMA boss alerted that about 626 local government areas across the country will experience flooding this year.

Ahmed also said “this year’s forecast indicates a high risk of coastal flooding due to expected rise in sea level and tidal surge that may negatively impact agriculture, human settlements and transportation in Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos and Rivers states.

“Flash and urban floods are also forecast over many cities and towns due to poor drainage systems and the lack of compliance to town planning and environmental regulations.”

He said the agency had already written letters to all the 36 state governments and the FCT administration with specific mention of the local government areas at risk and actions that are expected to be taken by responsible authorities and urged them to start sensitization and mitigating efforts to prevent the impending disaster.

But while some states say they are already taking some measures, which may appear inadequate, to mitigate against the looming crisis, other states have simply ignored the warning.

They seem to be comfortable waiting for disaster to happen before requesting for relief materials from Nigerians for their residents that will be affected.


Last year’s flood in Rivers state rendered thousands of residents homeless, destroyed property, ruined livelihoods and claimed several lives in worst hit communities.

The N1 billion intervention fund which was released belatedly was used to provide relief materials and palliatives for the victims.

But despite warning from NEMA that this year’s flood may be worse than that of last year, the Rivers State Government’s actions and inactions so far has not shown any commitment it is taking any proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the impending flood.

There has been no clear policy statement from the State Ministry of Special Duties charged with emergency response and the Local Governments in high risk areas and no tangible structures have been put in place to deal with the situation appropriately.

In different fora, throughout the campaigns leading to the 2023 general elections, Governor Nyesom Wike, instead harped on Rivers state anger against Federal Government on its perceived refusal to visit the state and provide meaningful assistance to cushion the pains on the devastated families and communities during last year’s experience.

However, a Port Harcourt-based lawyer and social justice advocate, Michael Karikpo, asked Governor Wike and all the governors across all flood prone states of the Niger Delta, to stop the blame game and take responsibility for saving their people from avoidable consequences in future incidents.

According to him, “it is a dereliction of duty for a state to sit down and do nothing while waiting on the Federal Government to provide when her people are dying from avoidable disasters, but when they have political issues, money will come out in volumes.

“If they have election campaigns or other extraneous issues not connected to the common good, money will come out. But when it concerns those who elected them, they delight in sharing blame.

“The governments have to put structures in place to proactively respond to what is going on in their respective environments.

“We have an existential issue before us. To sit down and say they are waiting on the FG to investigate, analyse data sent to them and then bring money does not make sense.”

FG issuing alerts to states not enough— Bayelsa Gov

Bayelsa State as the receptacle of the nation’s water bodies’ flow to the sea is faced yearly with the twin problem of flooding and erosion.

However, the volume of flood witnessed in 2012 and 2022, in the state, which left about two third of the state submerged with hundreds of thousands of families displaced has reinforced the need to put in place measures to mitigate future disaster and protect the very existence of the people.

Though many of the natural canals have been converted to dump sites by residents with outlets blocked, an official of the Ministry of Environment, who spoke anonymously, said the relevant agencies of government have started opening up the drains as part of flood control measures in the state and putting other flood control measures in place ahead of the rainy season.

Governor Douye Diri, has however called on the Federal Government to support states in tackling flood menace instead of just issuing alerts. He said tackling flood, erosion and other environmental challenges was costly and cannot be single-handedly handled by states alone especially in a state like Bayelsa where almost all communities were affected by constant flooding and erosion.

He assured that the government was doing everything within available resources to address the issues adding that his administration has set up a flood and erosion control agency to proffer holistic solution to the environmental issues.

According to him, “most communities in the state are threatened. Erosion affects almost all communities in Bayelsa. That is why we believe this is not a state government problem alone.

“We need the Federal Government to play key roles. Federal Government issuing warning or alerts to states is not enough. You know we do not have the resources to tackle this issue.

“We need the federal and international agencies to support us.”


Ondo state has experienced flooding in the past years causing the destruction of lives and properties.

The state commissioner for Environment, Hon. Sunday Akinwalere, said that the state government has introduced proactive measures and actions to combat the anticipated heavy flooding that has been predicted to prevent disasters and pains that usually accompany such occurrences.

Some of the proactive measures put in place by the state government, according to him include devising Ondo NEWMAP that identified flooding and gully sites, engineering design of the selected 24 sites across the state, GIS mapping of the selected sites, Ayetoro sea incursion emergency intervention project and procurement of more amphibious excavators, low Bed Trucks and WWD among others measures.

He added that elaborate desilting of drainages and comprehensive channelization of water ways that have been the harbinger and promoter of flooding were carried out to make for free and rapid flow of storm water during heavy down pour as being currently experienced.

Three expensive excavators purchased were deployed to the three senatorial districts across the state to clear the waterways in the major towns.

Akinwalere explained that the state government had engaged an expert company, ZL Global Alliance, ZLGA, to tackle the menace of flood, under the codenamed Operation Flush which helped in ensuring that Ondo State will not be taken over by flood this year as predicted by NIMET.

The commissioner added that the company deployed modern technology including drones to analyze various water channels in the state and thereafter embarked on widening the space through a process called channelisation for free water flow into the ocean.

Kwara commences dredging/channelisation of Asa river

Kwara state government has commenced the dredging and channelisation of Asa River and its tributaries to prevent flooding during the raining season.

Asa River along Unity Road,Ilorin through which water permeates major parts of the state capital, has been expansively dredged for easy channelisation of river to avert the annual flooding.

Speaking with newsmen after inspecting the dredging and channelisation work on Asa River, the state Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Remilekun Banigbe said the work would minimise flooding in the areas.

She said the state government secured the project from federal government through the ecological office to alleviate the sufferings of the residents.

She noted that the state government will embark on sensitisation to educate the residents on the dangers of indiscriminate dumping of refuse into water ways.

The Commissioner therefore urged the residents to make use of the designated government approved dump sites to dispose their waste.

In his remark the site Engineer in charge of the Ilorin Asa River dredging and channelisation project, Engineer Maruf Issa expressed confidence that the quality of job done will reduce flooding in the area.


In Ekiti state, the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Biodun Oyebanji, Mr Yinka Oyebode said the government has commenced comprehensive dredging of canals and areas prone to flooding since January.

According to him, “clearing of drainages is being done and environmental sanitation is being stepped up to ensure refuse are not dropped indiscriminately on drainage and canal.

“Stakeholders’ meeting has been held to sensitize residents/ landlords on how to prevent flood.

“The government has also empowered the State Emergency Management Agency in order to boost disaster response and management capacity in case of disaster.

“The Oyebanji led government has been working round the clock to ensure all failed roads are fixed and have proper drainage system.”


On its part, Oyo State Government through the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP), has put in place a coordinated system of alerting residents in flood prone areas of impending danger six hours before any flood disaster.

The coordinated system, named the Early Warning System (EWS), is a technologically driven effort that involves monitoring water level remotely, using wired sensor network to ensure that people living in flood prone communities receive appropriate warning within suitable time interval in order to take effective action to save lives and minimise loss of property.

In an interview, the Project Coordinator of IUFMP, Engr. John Olasunkanmi Sokeye, said the state government has put in place structures that will aid the smooth running of the EWS within Ibadan metropolis.

Sokeye noted that while flooding can’t be eliminated, it can be reduced to the minimum, adding that it is possible to ensure that lives are not lost through the EWS which the IUFMP just deployed.

According to him, IUFMP will use the digitalised EWS to warn people living in areas susceptible to flooding to evacuate before water overflows its banks to prevent fatalities during flooding incidents.

The project coordinator said the coordinated system of alerting will allow people to evacuate their families and put an end to losses associated with flooding.

Speaking with Vanguard as well, Murali Krishna, a consultant with RMSI and community assessment expert on the EWS project, stated that the system was one of the best technology to curb devastating effects of flooding, adding that it is the first in Nigeria.

We’ll not leave anything to chance – Osun Govt

Osun State Government has disclosed that it will not leave any stone unturned towards ensuring that flood does not lead to any loss of lives and property.

Governor Ademola Adeleke’s spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed while speaking with Saturday Vanguard said the state has embarked on sensitisation campaign on the need for residents not to dump refuse on waterways.

He said, “besides, we have also ensured that approval were not given for any type of structure for areas that are flood prone.

“In some areas that are usually flooded during downpour, like MDS area, we have commenced rehabilitation of the drainage system in the area to ensure that the road doesn’t constitute menace to motorists and shop owners.

“Similarly, the Ministry of Environment has been mandated to look at flood prone areas with a view to move temporary structure out of the places and in the event that permanent structures were built, they will advise residents on the need to relocate.

“Apart from that, the state has also dredged some of its rivers that act as takers from different streams, especially Osun river with a view to ensuring that it takes off water from streams or drainage effectively,” he added.

There won’t be any flood disaster in Akwa Ibom —Commissioner

The Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, in Akwa Ibom state Mr. Charles Udoh has assured that the state will not experience any flood disaster this year.

Udoh who gave the assurance while speaking with Saturday Vanguard in Uyo noted that the current administration has put strategies in place to checkmate flood disaster by building roads with well connected side drains.

His words: “There won’t be any flood disaster in Akwa Ibom State to the best of my knowledge. This is because from 2015 Governor Udom Emmanuel has built roads which all have side drains and all those drains are well connected.

“We have prepared since 2015, and that was why we didn’t have any flood problem last year. The only thing we experienced last year was a case of Flash Flood.

“What that means is that an area is only flooded while it is raining and when the rain stop the water disappears.”

Adamawa govt stockpiles relief materials

In Adamawa state, the state government and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA are stock pilling relief materials to take care of victims in case of flood disaster.

Permanent Secretary of the agency, Dr Mohammed Sulaiman said the agency in collaboration with other relevant bodies have commenced series of efforts which include sensitization of the people in local languages through the media.

He said already, door to door meeting of the agency with members of the communities in the flood prone communities has commenced.