As flood-ravaged citizens’ homes and continues to kill innocent people, Nigerian musician Etievie Clarkson Kikile has used his musical talent to inspire and sympathize with victims of flood in Nigeria.
Clarkson on Saturday, released a video of himself and other people singing as they waded through water that had almost destroyed most homes in their community.
Nigeria sees flooding every year, often as a result of inadequate infrastructure and the non-implementation of environmental guidelines. This year, authorities have blamed the floods on water overflowing from local rivers, unusual rainfalls, and the release of excess water from external forces such as the Lagdo dam in neighboring Cameroon.
The flooding problem is symbolic of a country whose leadership at all levels does not value planning, working with data, and proactiveness.
The federal government has said it is committed to reducing the impact of the flood to the barest minimum and to saving lives and property. Nigeria’s disaster management agency, NEMA, has begun the distribution of 12,000 Metric Tonnes of food and non-food items across the flood disaster hotspot.
The effort is, however, barely enough for the flooding that has created a cascade of problems, devastating the country’s agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and public health sectors.
As of October 16, 2022, over 603 lives have been lost, a total of 1,302,589 persons have been displaced and 2,504,095 persons have been affected.
The floods also injured 2,407 people, inundated 108,392 hectares of farmland, and “completely damaged” 82,053 homes.
Some years ago, Cameroon and Nigeria touched on the chances of possible flooding as a result of water overflow from the Cameroonian dam (Lagdo Dam). To cushion the effect of potential flooding, the Nigerian government agreed to build its own dam (the Dasin Hausa Dam) in Adamawa to contain excess water from Cameroon, thereby preventing flooding.
Hence, the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, which often contributes to flooding in Nigeria, was supposed to be contained by the Dasin Hausa Dam in Adamawa.
Aside from that, it was supposed to be two and a half the size of the Lagdo dam; the dam project sited at the Dasin Village of Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State was supposed to generate 300 megawatts of electricity and irrigate about 150,000 hectares of land in Adamawa, Taraba, and Benue states. It was supposed to be a shock absorber to prevent shocks like the one experienced in 2012, and the one being experienced in 2022.
At the time, The Cameroonian government built its Lagdo Dam in five years (between 1977 and 1982). It has been 40 years since 1982, and the Dasin Hausa Dam is yet to be finished.
On September 13, 2022, Eneo Cameroon (the Cameroonian electricity company) released a statement to inform residents of Garoua (a port city and the capital of the North Region of Cameroon, lying on the Benue River) and its environs that the dam will release between September and October 2022, urging them to steer clear of hazardous and flood-prone zones within the period. Had the government of Nigeria done likewise, the flood impacts could have been buffered.
Rather than own up to maybe a failure from the government’s own end, Suleiman Adamu, Nigeria’s minister of water resources, in a bid to defend his ministry’s 2023 budget before the Senate committee on water resources in Abuja, has said that rainfall is responsible for the flooding ravaging various communities across 30 states in Nigeria, not excess water from Cameroon.
The Nigerian 2022 flood experience, currently the worst on record, according to news reports, directly competes with that of 2012, one that took a deadly toll.
In 2012, for instance, the nation recorded its scariest flood experience where 2 million Nigerians were displaced, and 363 individuals died. The event cost the country an estimated $16.9 billion in total losses.
Both floods have been somehow attributed to the release of excess water from the Lagdo dam in Northern Cameroon as released water from it cascades down into Nigeria through River Benue and its tributaries, overwhelming communities that are already vulnerable due to heavy rainfall.
“Completing the Dasin Hausa Dam in the 80s would have prevented floods, increased power generation capacity, and aided irrigation. But the characteristic corruption-fuelled negligence wouldn’t allow it,” Oluseun Ade, a researcher, said.
On October 20, 2022, Nigeria received a pledge of $1 million donation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to combat growing floods killing hundreds and destroying properties worth billions of naira in the wake of climate change.
The money coming in would be of great help to Nigerian victims of floods who have complained of government neglect. The monetary compensation will help to sustain them while they count their losses. The aid would also help with the clearing of major drainage systems within the affected states as well as the provision of better camps, relief items, and facilities for Internally Displaced People (IDP).
Clarkson however uses his song to inspire victims of flood and urges Nigerians to keep on surviving irrespective of the challenges we are faced with.