Nigeria: Why Cities in Nigeria Are Prone to Flooding - Experts

An estimated two hundred people have died and 600,000 have been displaced due to floods in Nigeria this year.
22 September 2021

Lack of proper urban planning has been blamed for the reoccurring cases of flooding in most cities across Nigeria.

Prof. Ibrahim Yari Mallo of the University of Abuja stated this in a lead presentation at a one-day workshop with the theme: 'Blue-Green Initiative for Urban Flood Resilience in Nigeria', organised by the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Prof. Mallo held that most cities in Nigeria were not carefully planned with homes and offices constructed with disregard for nature and the future, pointing out that the problem of flooding also increased by the way buildings are constructed in the country.

According to him, "The most common environmental problems in Nigerian urban centres are flood. The singular reason to this is that most Nigerians hardly link the generation of flood to the corrugated iron sheet rooftops they use in roofing their houses. People who have the money also concretized their surroundings forgetting that water has to infiltrate into the ground as a natural process.

"All Nigerians need is the money to erect urban structures. It is when nature begins to take its course that they begin to worry yet lessons are never learnt. New settlements repeat the same mistakes that older ones have made that got their homes flooded".

Prof. Mallo, an expert in geography and environmental management, noted that "a panoramic view of flood incidence in Nigerian cities starting from Abuja which is resettled at the centre of the country revealed that no city or town in any geographical region of Nigeria has not experienced any flood event".

He also blamed poor drainage system and indiscriminate dumping of refuse for exacerbating the problem.

Also speaking at the workshop, Mr. Umar Abubarkar of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) said residents of the capital city were also partly to blame for the problem.

According to him, the AEPB spends about N412 million monthly in evacuating and managing wastes in the city.

"Despite the best efforts of government wastes are still being dumped in non-designated areas and citizens do not follow guidelines on how wastes are sorted and separated from organic to inorganic", he added.

On his part, Prof. Colin Thorne explained that a Blue-Green city brings together water management and green infrastructure to recreate a more natural cycle, "generating multiple economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits".

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