The Federal University, Lokoja, has appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase its annual budgetary allocation to flood control in Lokoja and other flood-prone parts of the country.
The appeal is contained in a communique issued at the end of the first International Conference on Flood and Sustainable Development held in Lokoja, Kogi State.
The communique also called for the establishment of a centre for flood prevention and management in Nigeria to lead innovation and intellectualism in the area of flood research.
It added: “Flooding, as a phenomenon, has had devastating effect on human population and there is the need to mitigate this effect by bringing together the town and the gown for collaborative effort in tackling this disaster.
“The strategic importance of the confluence of the Niger-Benue Rivers in this perennial flooding and the forum has provided the avenue for gaining a better understanding of the ecological and environmental factors that contribute to floods in the Niger-Benue trough.”
It maintained that flooding had “negatively impacted communities in the Niger-Benue trough” in different ways.
According to the communique, the communities have recorded loss of human lives and property, livestock, crops, non-functional infrastructure and health challenges, owing to water borne diseases – with other socio-economic impacts.
“Again, decreased purchasing and production power, mass migration, psycho sociological effect, limited economic growth and development, and low political participation, discontent or loss of trust in authorities leading to social unrest are all sequel to effects of flooding,” the communique added.
It further underscored the need for improvement in collecting, assessing, and sharing environmental and climatic data for planning, policy and investment purpose, including better coordination between MDAs.
It also called for the adoption of a multi-pronged approach through investment in resilient infrastructure such as building and maintaining robust drainage systems, creation of reservoirs, flood barriers, divergent structures and implementing sustainable urban planning practices.
The communique argued that with robust annual budgetary allocations, all the aforementioned steps and measures could conveniently be implemented and executed to save lives of innocent citizens of Nigeria.
Some 50 papers were presented by scholars and researchers across the globe at the three-day conference.
Prof. Jimmy Adegoke of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Prof. Temi Ologunrisa, the Vice-Chancellor, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitikupa, Ondo State, presented two key papers.
By Thompson Yamput