By Ibrahiym A. El-Caleel
Flooding in this season is caused by heavy rainfalls. It happens because the excess water from a heavy rainfall is unable to find a drainage system with the capacity to contain it. Our local areas, called “ghettos” are fond of blocking the gutters. Household wastes are dumped in gutters instead of depositing them in refuse dump for proper incineration.The new extension areas mostly called “low-cost” also suffer from inadequate drainage system due to poor planning. People passionately build houses of N8-10 million, but comfortably neglect building a drainage that will cost them less than N300K.
I know a man whose neighbor refused to build a gutter for over 20 years, with much quarrel. Everyday, this man had to use a rake to collect the waste from his house to pass it to the next gutter because his immediate neighbor refused to let the gutter continue in front of his house. Of course it’s a semi-ghetto area, no one cared to reveal this to appropriate authorities. Rainfalls have no specific regards to the poor drainage system we have in our communities. We can continue to block the gutters with our household wastes. Lowcost residents can continue to build their fine houses without making provision for drainage. When the heavy rain eventually falls, it will not seek for a pathway. It will accumulate on the streets and find its way into our houses, living rooms and bedrooms. Eventually, we will then begin to have honest concerns with our lack of regards for drainage systems. It is true that we have governmental institutions for environmental health. Take Kaduna State for example. Kaduna has Kaduna Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA). Go to KEPA’s office on Old Jos Road in Zaria close to Kongo Campus and see the gutter there. A few years back when I was making a self-assigned field research on this issue, their gutter was also blocked with several plastic wastes and heap of sand! This is a regulatory agency that should drive residents compliance with environmental health systems like drainage. KASTELEA was also launched to enforce both state traffic laws and environmental laws. KASTELEA stands for “Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Law Enforcement”. But today KASTELEA is obsessed with catching drivers with an expired “Road Worthiness Certificate” more than cracking on households with no drainage systems which leads to flooding of a community of 2,000 homes.
For prevention, people should not wait for KEPA or KASTELEA to come and enforce them to clean their gutters. They don’t have your time! If you like, don’t just dump your household wastes in the gutters. You may please seal the gutters with molten steel! When the community eventually floods, you will feel the pain more than anyone. The best thing SEMA will do is to give you 2 tiers each of rice as palliatives and then have NTA cover the story. The remaining wahala is yours to know how to solve. It is the usual way of manhandling everything that has to do with public good. I have seen someone who demolished a part of his house, and instead of transporting the red sand elsewhere, he spread it on the tarred road that is meant for public use. When rain fell, the red sand became sticky and everyone in that community had to suffer for this indiscipline. Yet no one cared to force this man to come and pack up his red sand. After all, he dumped it on a road that doesn’t belong to anyone. The road belongs to the government. Therefore, it is the government’s headache! Allah has been very merciful to us. We are not living in coastal areas that are susceptible to tropical cyclones that could lead to storm surges that will flood our communities. Now that we live in our areas that are free from this, why can’t we have good drainage systems that will contain heavy rainfalls? As we make our bed, so shall we lie on it.