Every year, Nigerians anticipate the rainy season for different reasons. Some do because they expect bountiful harvest. Some even do because it mitigates the issue of heat in congested areas like Lagos. However, a lot of people anticipate the season in dread because of the devastating effects of heavy downpour. It is not uncommon to find fully built roads in Nigeria flooded with heavy rainfall. Flood menace in the country has become such a normal and re-occurring issue impacting livelihoods and infrastructural development.
Some of the repercussions of this in Nigeria include flooded homes and roads, eroded farms, disruption of air travel, etc. For instance, it has become customary to expect flooding in some areas in Lagos State, especially on the islands. Places like Victoria Island and Lagos Island as well as Agege on the mainland are often paralyzed even with little amount of rain as a result of flooding on major roads and streets linking the homes of the residents. Sometime in 2017, a resident in Lekki had got a canoe to transport himself around the area since no car could move around in the massive water.
This year, FG predicts the same thing that Nigerians already know.
Notwithstanding, a technical committee of experts, which was set up by the Federal Government, has warned that heavy rains will be released this year. The expected heavy downpour will pose danger to homes, bridges, roads, and even air travel. The committee also warned that severe flooding would likely cause erosion on farms and lead to the destruction of livestock, thereby heightening food insecurity and hunger in the country. The committee additionally predicted that the resultant severe weather might worsen malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases. Over all, it said that this may also cause severe depression among Nigerians.
The committee, which is headed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), gave this warning in a document that was made available to the press. The warning was given in the 2023 climate-related disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies. The panel cited severity of weather and lack of preparedness by relevant agencies as reasons that the effects of the rain may be devastating. The document also indicated that NEMA developed the early warning messages in collaboration with several stakeholders, including representatives of 22 Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
NEMA-convened technical meeting of experts produced mitigating strategies.
“Analysis of 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction,” as the document is titled, was signed by the 22-member technical committee. They include: NEMA; the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency; Nigeria Meteorological Agency; National Space Research and Development Agency; National Inland Waterways Authority; Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation; the National Orientation Agency; the Federal Ministry of Health; Federal Ministry of Environment; Federal Ministry of Education; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Federal Ministry of Transportation; National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, among others.
As the document showed, NEMA convened a technical meeting of experts after the January 24 public presentation of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction by NiMet and NIHSA’s Annual Flood Outlook on February 17, 2023. These experts from relevant stakeholder organizations discussed the issue for two days and devised the strategy as an early warning document based on thematic sectors. The committee stated that the strategy is to aid responsible organizations execute preparedness and mitigation actions to safeguard lives, livelihoods, and the environment against climate-variability hazards within Nigeria in 2023.
Experts also predict below average rainfall in some parts of Nigeria.
In the core Northern region of Nigeria, the experts predicted below normal rainfall. The effect is water stress, which is a situation where the water resources in a region are insufficient for the needs of its inhabitants. So, this will cause a number of things. Firstly, daytime temperature is likely to be above normal all over the region. As a result, it will have an adverse impact on domestic animals, leading to losses. The experts also predicted high pests and diseases, which will also lead to loss in crop production.