18 states on red alert as flood kills 15, displaces over 16,000 Nigerians in one week


No fewer than 15 persons have reportedly lost their lives due to the widespread flooding experienced across the country within the last seven days.

Several properties, including houses, cars and other valuables were destroyed by the disturbing disaster.

Saga Gist recalls that on June 24, the popular Trademore Estate, Abuja, was submerged following a sustained torrential rainfall that led to the death of two residents.

Apart from many houses almost completely destroyed, the flood which overflowed the estate canal, also swept away several cars.

In Yobe State alone, about 30 communities were destroyed on July 1st when heavy downpour was experienced in the area, leading to the death of about nine persons.

The State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, while confirming the ugly incident, revealed that over 10,845 individuals across 12 LGAs of Yunusari, Nguru, Nangere, Gujba, Damaturu, Fika, Bade, Bursari, Yusufari, Geidam, Machina and Karasuwa were affected by the floodings.

On Wednesday, movements were restricted while economic activities were crippled in Lagos State due to the persistent rainfall that caused unexpected flooding in many parts of the state.

It was more worrisome in some residential areas in Ibeju-Lekki and other strategic locations where thousands of residents were unfortunately displaced.

It was gathered that some of the worst affected areas included Epe, Eredo, Bogije, Labora, Abijon, Sangotedo, Awoyaya and Ibeju-Lekki.

A primary six pupil was reportedly swept away by the flood in the Ikosi-Ketu area of Lagos.

Also, seven occupants, including a one-year-old baby girl, were rescued alive from a collapsed two-storey building at the Mushin area of the state, following the heavy downpour.

Similarly, the Lagos State Police Command on Thursday confirmed that a yet-to-be-identified 61-year-old man lost his life after being electrocuted during the flood incident.

Nigerians knock federal and state governments over failure to be proactive

The recurring cases of flooding in the country have raised concerns among stakeholders who lamented that the Federal and the state governments failed to be proactive in tackling the menace.

Saga Gist recalls that in 2022, over 662 Nigerians lost their lives to flood across the country.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, 662 people were killed, while 2,430,445 others were displaced.

About 3,174 people also suffered various degrees of injuries during the flood disaster.

In 2023, the National Emergency Management Agency said over 45 Nigerians died, while 171,545 persons were displaced as a result of widespread flooding experienced across the country.

Saga Gist reports that despite the warnings and previous cases recorded, Nigeria was still caught unprepared in 2024.

Reacting to the Wednesday incident in Lagos State, a former governorship candidate in the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, said the Lagos State Government has not been proactive on flood management.

In a television interview, the Labour Party chieftain said, “What is more painful to me is that I see a government that is in your face and very active when it comes to demolition but you have this kind of thing (flood) you don’t see any emergency response or protocol.

“We are not seeing men on the ground. We are not seeing intelligence being given out early: ‘avoid these routes’. There were no diversions.

“I don’t feel a sense of ‘I told you so’. Anybody who loves Lagos well enough and has looked at the history of Lagos would see these things way before they happen”.

Similarly, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the Head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, said on Saturday that it is not enough for the government to alert Nigerians of imminent danger of flooding, urging both the Federal and the state governments to take proactive actions.

He said, “Environmental issues like flooding are things that are even beyond the government. The only thing is that the government needs to be ready for remediation and rescue if it happens eventually.

“The government should be able to evacuate people from the flood-prone areas. Telling Nigerians that there is going to be flooding in 31 states is not enough.

“Sometimes the government needs to force these residents to move out of the danger areas. Some people may not want to leave willingly because it is their ancestral home.

“The Nigerian government should provide ecological funds that will resettle victims of flooding in the country.

“When these flood-prone areas are identified, the government is expected to inform the residents of the danger of staying back especially during the season of heavy rainfall.

“The state government should build camps where they can possibly relocate the affected people, not allowing people to be stranded when it happens”.

Poor urban planning, deforestation, others responsible for flooding in Nigeria – Expert

An environmentalist, Dr Gabriel Ajeh said on Saturday that poor urban planning and inadequate infrastructure development were the major causes of flooding in Nigeria.

According to him, “as most cities continue to expand, encroachment of settlements into flood-prone areas have also continued among citizens, leading to flood disaster.

“The urbanization in many parts of the country is very poor. There are places even in Abuja that people should not be allowed to reside.

“Unfortunately, you see these places being occupied by people despite knowing that floods usually occur in those places.

“For example, the issue of Trademore Estate in the FCT is not new. Every year we hear about people dying in the area due to flooding, yet people are allowed to continue living there.

“Another issue we must consider, especially as we battle climate change, is deforestation and environmental degradation.

“This has significantly reduced the natural flood protection that is usually provided by forests, wetlands, and mangroves, thereby heightening the risk of floods in Nigerian communities.

“We need to understand that the degradation of natural ecosystems contributes to soil erosion, which can worsen flooding by increasing sedimentation in rivers.”

FG places 18 states on red alert

Tension was heightened on Thursday when the federal government placed at least 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on red alert over possible severe flooding expected from the end of July 2024.

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Terlumun Utsev, who raised the alarm while addressing reporters in Abuja, said Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Rivers and Taraba, as well as the FCT may be adversely affected in the coming days.

According to the Minister, from the end of July, the country might start experiencing river flooding, which might be more devastating than the current situation.

The Water Resources minister said river flooding was expected from major rivers like the Niger and Benue, urging continuous monitoring and proactive measures.

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