By Ali Sabo
Flooding is a disaster which can be natural or man-made. It normally happens when there is too much water in the dry land and which can be as a result of lack of water passage, blockage or too much of the water that is coming which cannot be controlled. According to Wikipedia “flooding is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry” and it may occur “as an overflow of water from water bodies, such as a river, lake, or ocean, in which the water overtops or breaks levees, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries, or it may occur due to an accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an areal flood” this is the reason people on the waterways or riparian areas are always advised/warned to vacate these places whenever there is sign of flooding, but many times these people ignored the warnings and their government takes no action.
In Jigawa state, there are local governments or villages that are in riparian areas who are prone/fragile to flooding. These areas are very fragile and easy fray whenever there is flooding in the state. Kafin Hausa, Auyo, Guri and Ringim for example, have experienced or experiencing flooding almost every raining season, which led to the loss of billions of Naira, properties, homes and lives. Around 2003 a whole village called Marawa in Ringim Local Government was swept away by water and had to be relocated and rebuild due to the flooding in the area by Jigawa state government to prevent future occurrence of the disaster but still some people went back to the old location and build houses while the authority watches. While in 2010 in Jahun Local Government flood damaged more than 200 houses which forced many people in the local government to seek shelter somewhere else.
In 2018, in Ringim, Gwaram, Birnin Kudu, Taura, Miga, Jahun, Auyo, Kazaure, Mallam-Madori, Hadejia, Guri, Kirikasamma, Buji and Kaugama more than 100,000 hectares of farms of rice, thousands of houses and many lives were destroyed. This led to many outbreaks of diseases in the Internally Displaced Persons Camps set up by the state government for the victims of the flood while others seek shelter in neighboring towns.
In a situation which looks like we are not learning from the past, this year, before the start of the rain, The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) advised/warned people in the riverine areas in the state to relocate or take proper precaution to prevent being destroyed by the flood but neither the government nor the people take the warning seriously. From the last days of July to August of this year, Jigawa state has recorded countless number of flooding where many villages were submerged, lives were lost and properties destroyed. A report from the state indicates that more than five lives were lost, including a pregnant woman in Kirikasamma Local government and thousands of residents have been displaced in the most affected areas; Guri, Kirikasamma and Birnin Kudu local government areas.
To prevent the future occurrence of this disaster there is the need for government to be serious, especially in the area of constructing drainage in the state; not only constructing the drainages they should be of good quality. Government should also make sure it implements the previous recommendations given by different stakeholders on how to prevent future occurrence of flooding in the state. It should also take the issue of relocating those in the riverine areas very serious because one of the responsibility (the most important) of any serious government is protecting the lives and properties of its citizens. People building on the waterways should be advised to demolish their buildings with immediate effect and anyone found wanting in the future should be dealt with decisively. And lastly, there is the need for the people to be keeping their environment clean; people should stop dumping refuse on gutters/waterways and we need to bring back the “Aikin Gayya”.
Ali Sab works with Centre for Information Technology and Development in Dutse, Jigawa State. You can reach him either through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or his twitter handle @alygee124
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily