Saturday, July 31, 2010

Global Warming, And The Flood To Come.

One of the duties of government,as far as I am concerned,is to confront present imminent danger,while preparing for future potential threats.

This means that apart from solving the problems of today,it should be making plans for emerging ones.

When Marshall McLuhan, the mass communication guru,coined the phrase"global village",more than thirty years ago,I believe even he did not anticipate how interrelated,and interdependent,the world would become.

We all got a rude lesson in this during the H1N1 Swine Flu crises of some years ago,and the Bird Flu epidemic.

It is no longer news,that when the world sneezes at one end,the other end catches cold!

So when we see on cable television,wildfires in Russia, massive floods in China,and Pakistan;it would be foolhardy for us to to assume the usual posture of "thank God,it is not happening here".

But is it not?

Nigeria suffers from a chronic case of underreporting. 

Our government does not know what is going on,unless it involves the making of money, or the acquisition of new assets, for those in government.

About a month ago, some parts of Utako District,in Abuja,the Federal Capital Territory, experienced unprecedented flooding. Homes were breached by water.

The same had happened in Kubwa town,the year before.
Before then,we had massive flooding in Maiduguri,and other cities in the north, this was against all expectations.

This year's rain,has not been a welcome relief for many residents of Lekki, and Ajah, two high-brow residential areas in Lagos. They have been overwhelmed with water. Some residents woke up.and found their furniture floating in their living rooms.

All these are the effects of the much disputed,but very-much-with-us, Global warming!

Mankind,by our invasive use of the planet,has put the whole planet out of sync. We now live in a world that is at war with itself ,literally. 

This is a very contentious issue.There are numerous experts on both sides of the argument for,and against, global warming.

Between them, in no man's land,are many extremists ready to die for their beliefs!

It is trite science,that acceptance,or otherwise,of the existence of a phenomenon, does not invalidate it. 

If you live long enough,like the saying goes, you will change your views several times!

Apart from the emission of green house gases,which is one of the factors responsible for global warming, and consequently the flooding we are seeing globally, I believe that our peculiar Nigerian Factor, is preparing us for a crises we may not be able to handle. 

The flooding we are witnessing,are just the harbingers of the horde to come. People,because they have money, and land is scarce, are allowed to build in flood plains, they are a natural bullseye for the flood to come. 

Also,our new found craze for interlocking,and concreting over every thing,is not allowing sufficient water to sink into the ground.

By not planting grass, we harm the environment.

There is a general attitude,that what we do as individuals,does not have a bearing on the overall outcome.

But that is self-delusion,

The consequence is the massive run- offs we are witnessing as flooding.

If you add this to the breakdown in essential public services in many areas,drains not cleared regularly,canals not cleaned, garbage left on the streets;we are sitting on a volcano.

Our government seems to be more concerned with  reacting to the flooding, than preventing it. It is actually cheaper,in human,and material terms, to prevent a flood,than to wait for it to happen.

But then again,there are huge, lucrative, contracts to be awarded for relief materials.

We have not helped ourselves,by our indiscriminate felling of trees.

Apart from removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trees also protect against erosion.

One might sound like a prophet of doom,but areas like Victoria Island,Lekki, Ajah, parts of Bayelsa, Cross River, and Rivers state,are in danger of not just flooding,but being reclaimed by the sea!

While individuals,on their own,can do very little to solve the global problem, the bulk of the solution, is in the hands of government. 

This is what we see happening in Benin city.

Benin City,the capital of Edo state, used to be flood prone; that was until a real government was elected, now,the problem is receiving attention.

 Houses,regrettably, are being demolished to restore the original channels used by water.In addition, the ancient Benin Moat, which many unscrupulous individuals had sand-filled in some sections to build houses,is now being cleared. 

This moat was a logical place for water to go in the past,but we ruined it.

It is going to take imagination, determination,and a lot of sacrifice,to avert the sure flood,which is to come.

These are attributes,which are rare in government.

This is one time when I would advocate prayer as a solution to a problem government ought to solve, I am, because I know we are on our own.

O God save us! 

Help Your people,for we have no helper!


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