The country, Nigeria is located on the northwestern area of Africa. Due to its closeness to the equator, it falls in the tropics. Its weather is affected by the Atlantic Ocean weather patterns, because of its southern oriented coastline. Also, it borders Lake Chad to the northeast, which affects weather of the northern region. Nigeria experiences four different climate types, which generally changes as you move from south to north of the country, away from the equator. These are the tropical rainforest climate, tropical savanna, tropical dry climate and montane micro-climate. As a tropical country, there are only two seasons in Nigeria. The dry season, which lasts from October until April which is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity, and is affected by warm winds (harmattan) coming from the Sahara Desert to the north. During other months of the year, the country is in the rainy season.
On paper, the country gives a blend of weather conditions the continent of Africa has to offer. This apparent perfection is being washed away by reoccurring floods. The country seem prone to yearly floods during rainfall. Nigeria has experienced yearly disastrous floods recently in 1986, 1994, 2009, and in 2012 where 363 people died and 2.1 million people were displaced according to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The floods of 2012 is the modern standard with which impacts of other flood events are measured. Both the country’s leaders and citizens are inactive on this yearly disaster. It is 2018 and Nigeria is in water, again.
2012 Versus 2018
A quick look at the rainfall data of both years. Shows it is rinse and repeat.
Since 2011, NIMET has been predicting normal onset of rains in many parts of the country. However, the rains were earlier in the Northeast and parts of the South. Also, the end of season, has been given a normal condition prediction generally for most parts of the country. But a later-than-normal end of season have been happening. The agency had to update their prediction during the season due to extreme changes. These latter predictions have been in agreement with observed actual end of rainy season. In 2012, high impact daily rainfalls of 100.0mm and higher values were recorded between May and August. The average rainfalls in 2018 for the same period is about 212.49 mm (World Bank Group – Climate Change Knowledge Portal). This is more rainfall amount than that of 2012.
Six years on, a force of nature is waxing strong but people’s ingenuity in annexing this force for good is declining, at least in Nigeria. According to The Brookings Institution, Nigeria is currently the world poverty capital, thus any negative environmental event will result in negative economic conditions. This is what occurs when a mixture of poor infrastructure and an obvious lack of proactive planning gets a catalyst named climate change. Extreme weather conditions are difficult to predict. The best we can do is to prepare for it and not against it.
Efficient drainage systems (floodways) from homes and on roads are needed. Also, reforestation could help mitigate against flood. You can read about the physics of trees as flood mitigation on another PACC Policy report, here. The challenges are known, the negative impacts are historically recorded, and their mitigations are well defined. Nigeria like most other African countries cannot afford the price of flood. The country will benefit more if it annex this excess water for use during dry season farming. Its food inflation (currently at 13.6 percent) is also affected by lack of water for farming during dry season. Should flood destroy more farm crops, cost of living in the country may increase. Citizens and leaders must remember that the price of more flood is poverty.
Climate Policy Analyst