The floods currently ravaging different parts of the Country have been described as the worst in a decade. While heavy rainfall has been attributed to as one major cause of Nigerian floods The recent floods in Nigeria that have ravaged the nation have also been attributed to the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. With millions displaced, and over 600 persons dead, it has been described as an overwhelming disaster.
With the ASUU strike called off, different Universities across the country released a resumption timeline almost immediately. The news that the eight-month-long strike had been called off brought overwhelming relief to students and parents alike who had long waited for the news. However, the floods in Nigeria, which various states are currently battling cuts a more somber tone.
Effects of the Floods in Nigeria on Students
University students are currently among the displaced who have been affected by the floods. As the strike dragged on, a lot of students had to travel back to their various states of abode.
Sapphire Ogah is a University Student in Bayelsa affected by the floods. She says her family home is currently submerged in the flood. Now that the strike has been called off, she has a lot to deal with. Her family’s properties are in the water and her family has to leave the house. She says she is not in the right frame of mind as even the roads are not motorable as they have been cut off by the floods.
There are others in the same predicament as Sapphire but the universities are moving on regardless. A lot of students may have to resume late which is not a good signal.
University students are not the only category of students that have been affected. Primary and secondary schools across the country have had to shut down as schools have become submerged with flood water.
For Irobo Simeon, a Games Coach at Irri Grammar School Delta State, the floods came suddenly taking everyone by surprise. Houses and farmlands in the community had been affected. His house was not left out. He had fled his house as it became submerged in the flood. He says
“ the flood is not what we imagined. We woke up and discovered that
our house was flooded. Even the school I work at in Irri was also
overtaken by the flood. It had been shut down and the Students have been told to stay away. ”
A part of Irri Grammar School Overrun by Flood Water
As a Games Coach at Irri Grammar School, he says they have been forced to shut down when the school became overrun by flood water. He says the students he coaches had games lined up but all that has been put on hold due to the floods.
A walk into the school reveals deserted classrooms, students have had to stay away due to the floods as they also have to battle the floods in their own homes.
For Oguedo Daniel he says the morning the flood water started to gather at Irri Grammar School was a very challenging one. He is part of a security network for the community school. He says he had raced to the science laboratories trying to save as much equipment as he could from the overwhelming floods that had started to enter different parts of the school. He had taken some science equipment from the school laboratory into the school library as he hoped the water would not get there. He had halted his rescue mission when the water started to rise and it became dangerous to proceed further. He says
“ The floods took us unawares. When it started, I began to move towards
the Science Laboratories to save the equipment the Students use for
their practicals from being damaged. The water was a lot. It was just
me. I could not take everything because the water was rising.”
Some of the equipment salvaged and taken into the Library
He says there is still a lot of equipment in the science laboratory that is submerged in the flood. He points to a heap where he kept some of the equipment outside hoping the sun will dry them. Despite his best efforts, he worries that some of the equipment may become damaged beyond repair which will be at loss to the students when they come back after the floods.
Across the Country, a lot of Public Schools are also being used as camps to accommodate people who have become displaced by the floods. In Delta State Public Schools like Ewu Grammar School, Isoko Community School and others have been turned into camps for Internally Displaced Persons. This means that students will be unable to access classrooms as they have been turned into shelters.
Closure of schools due to the flood
Bayelsa State Government had also ordered the closure of all public and private schools in the state as a result of the floods. A statement released by the state government said it was to ensure the safety of students during the floods. Anambra State Government has also had to shut down schools in affected communities.
Thousands of Students in Nigeria have had their school year disrupted as a result of the floods.
In a country like Nigeria, where resources are not easily available, damage to schools as a result of the floods may be slow to fix and repairs made. This is due to financial constraints.
Experts fear that there may result in a surge in out-of-school children and absenteeism when schools finally open fully across various parts of the Country.
UNICEF estimates that 1.5 million children’s education is in jeopardy as a result of the flood. Even after the water has gone down, the damage cannot be immediately overcome it says.
It becomes imperative that government begins to find ways to combat the flooding menace that continues to ravage the Country so as to keep schools free from floods. Government must treat this as a matter of utmost importance. The long-term effects of students being out of school may become dire.
The future of millions of school children depends on this.