Without warning, 363 people lost their lives and over 2.1 million people were displaced. Somehow, the seasonal flash floods that people were used to became lethal that it flowed effortlessly to several states in Nigeria and wreaked such havoc that many are yet to bounce back from.
According to an environmentalist, Mrs Felicia Adun, the 2012 flood happened because of changes in weather pattern and increase in rain fall which in order to avoid collapse, led to the opening of the Cameroon dam that flowed to affected states.
She said that when there is increase in temperature, it causes a lot of alteration, hazard and affects every sector of the society. The affected states like Kogi, Delta are coastal states, which is why when there is increase in temperature, the temperature of the ocean is increased and when the water is warmed up, it expands, the level of the sea rises and eventually overflows to land.
Having seen the level of disaster, on 9th of October 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan responded to the cry for help and released 17.6 billion naira for rehabilitation and damage response.
For funds distribution, states were categorised according to level of damage done, with most affected states referred to as category A to receive N500 million each; category B states, N400 million each; category C states, N300 million each, and category D states, N250 million each.
Additionally, led by billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, the 34-member committee garnered N12 billion in fund raising. Mr. Dangote donated N2.5 billion; N200 million of which he gave to the Kogi State government. Among others, Globacom boss, Mike Adenuga, gave N500 million; Zenith Bank’s Jim Ovia and businessman Arthur Eze donated N1 billion each while the then governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, gave N1.8 billion on behalf of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. Construction giants Julius Berger, RCC, Dantata, Setraco were also reported to have donated generously.
Kogi in the first category, received N500 million and in addition, Kogi got N150 million from Dangote, N50 million from Jide Omokore, N10 million from Alhaji Isa Kutepa and another N10 million from Kano State Government.
Delta, also in category A, reportedly received N500 million from the intervention fund and was further surged with contributions from Jim Ovia and good spirited individuals. It was announced that the state government would give N5,000 to every affected adult and N3,000 to youths. Also announced, was the allocation of 49 trucks of food items to the victims.
Sadly, a documented report in the Pointer newspaper, premium times, the Nation and other news outlets revealed that the flood relief hardly got to the intended recipients. Vendors were deployed to rural communities to take the names of beneficiaries and commence payment as well. But the so-called decision makers gathered in their numbers and routinely distributed funds amongst themselves while disaster victims suffered untold hardship from running helter-skelter looking for shelter, wearing rags repeatedly, to feeding on corn seedlings infested with pesticides. Afterwards, several lives were lost, others barely hung on a thread as sickness of different kinds for a long time settled in Aniocha South and Ndowka communities of Delta state.
It’s six years later and residents of 50 local government areas have again picked up tears, from where they left off with Kogi toping the chart of death tolls and displacement as was the case in 2012.
In August, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) warned Nigerians living by the banks of River Niger and its floodplains of another flood that might be comparable to that of 2012. They named the vulnerable states to include Kwara, Kogi, Kebbi, Anambra, Delta, Niger and Bayelsa.
So far, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA has put the figure of affected persons at 441,251 in about 50 local government areas in the country, with a total of 108 lives lost, 192 people injured and 141,369 people internally displaced. About 13,031 houses have been destroyed while 122,653 hectares of agricultural land damaged.
A breakdown of the 441,251 people affected by the flood showed that Kogi State suffered the highest, with 118,199 people affected.
Followed by Kebbi, Anambra, Niger with 94,991, 64,331 and 51,719 affected people respectively.
Delta state comes next with 37,017 people; Edo, 31,113 people; Kwara, 41,680; and Benue, 2,201
The NEMA report said a total sum of N12.13bn would be required to provide relief materials to those affected by the flood. Currently, only about N3bn, which is 25 per cent of the sum, is available, resulting in a shortfall of N9.13bn. And on the news, it is read and heard that the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo visited some affected states including Kogi, Delta, Anambra recently and pledged government’s support. He said from preliminary assessment made, relief materials have been sent to affected states and more will be sent.
But as expected, from the mouths of helpless victims is the affirmation that the Federal Government has not done anything.
Though, 2012 flood retains its position as one of the toughest offshoots of climate change, speculations from experts are that we may not have seen the last of the present-day flood. Numbers are expected to rise further as assessments are still ongoing in some states, including Rivers and Bayelsa, which are believed to be amongst the worst hit.
A community leader in Ewulu community of Delta State and a few others spoken to by African Probe agree that flood may not be totally man’s handiwork and there may not be so much man can do to avert the situation. However, they think that an honest means towards ameliorating the situation can leave erasable aftermath rather than indelible marks when all is done. They prayed the federal government to let relief materials reach the hands of those who truly need it.