Olaniran Olajire, a professor of geography, and Sunday Wusu have emphasised the necessity for governments at all levels to promote tree planting as a way of preventing future flooding.
They claimed that both climate change and human factors contributed to the prevalence of flooding in most areas of the nation, as they also stressed the need to promote effective climate action.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, floods have already put 2.5 million Nigerians, including 1.5 million children, in danger and have resulted in over 600 fatalities and 1.4 million displaced people.
Numerous states have appealed to the federal government and donors to come to their aid in the face of the flood.
Speaking to the issue, Olajire, who is a professor of geography at the Niger Delta University, Yenagoa, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent that the whole world was experiencing climate change, and that one of the effects was extreme weather events, manifesting in the form of excessive precipitation and high temperatures. He noted that human beings had also worsened the situation.
He stated, “There is the element of nature and then human factors cresting our present scenario. One of the solutions is to create detention dams to contain the excess water, enabling the control of water into the farmlands, like in the case of Kogi State.
“Also, we have to dredge our major rivers, widen them and make the valley deeper, so that they can contain more water. This was done in the Ogunpa Valley in Ibadan, Oyo State. We also have to keep people out of the flood plain, because they are disturbing the ecosystem with urban developments within the floodplain.
“We have to encourage forestation, which is very commendable because, with it, the surface of the land would be covered, and the rainwater would infiltrate the soil rather than flow into the river. So, it would prevent a situation where filth would be carried into the river valley, making the valley shallow.”
Also, Wusu, speaking in Lagos at the 31st Lagos builders’ conference and annual general meeting on Friday, said the government must discourage deforestation and encourage forestation and modern waste management. The event had the theme, ‘The Shifting Landscape – Redefining the Real Estate Industry.’
He added, “When the ground is void and erosion comes, everything would be carried away. It is hard for you to see a forest where erosion happens because there are vegetations there which hold together the soil.
“Clearing lands and vegetation without paying cognisance to flooding and wind is not advisable. Obviating deforestation and recycling of wastes for re-usage are still the most probable solution to flooding in Nigeria.”
He said in accordance with global standards, some places were meant to be reserved to receive the flood water because rivers tend to overflow their banks during the rainy season.
The Punch had reported the Chairperson, National Executive Council of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Chief Ede Dafinone, as saying during a panel discussion at the 20th Chief S.L Edu Memorial Lecture that rising sea levels and other climate change impacts might get worse if not averted, noting that the world was experiencing the consequences of the disregard for earlier warnings.