Thursday, January 20, 2022

On ‘relocation’ of Hadejia: Model error versus sampling error, by Prof. MS Abubakar

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In the prediction and forecasting of future events and occurrences, factors analysis is predicted in large part on either exploratory or confirmatory parameters. Factors analysis is a major way of dealing with measurement error through exploratory approach; where application software determines any underlying factors of subject matter or confirmatory approach in which a researcher/analyst specifies the underlying factors by self.

These are reasons why many predictions are a mere exercise in futility. However, the recent forecasting statements credited to the UN focal person on climate change, Mr. Nura Jibo, on impending flood in Jigawa state in general and Hadejia town, in particular is a call for concern on one hand, while on the other hand, his advice is presumptuous to culture, heritage and people of Hadejia town. I say this because there are numerous choices in proffering viable and sustainable solutions to any magnitude of impending flooding than the relocation of an ancient town such as Hadejia which has been transformed into a major town since 1808 AD.

Hadejia with a population of over a quarter million people occupies over 50,778 kilometer squares of an area situated in an internationally important ecological and sensitive zone. The town is with valuable economic activities such as a renewed cluster for production, processing and handling of many important agricultural products like sesame, wheat, millet, sorghum, rice and fish. It equally serves as an important collecting point for export crops as groundnuts and hibiscus. Animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, donkeys and Guinea fowl are reared in large volume in the town.

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It is a known fact that Hadejia town lays squarely in the Hadejia river valley which the inhabitants have been putting to positive uses as providence afforded the town the opportunities. However, the warning of the impending flood is an old one and equally advocacy for viable and sustainable solutions based on both short and long term bases are neither new even though appropriate actions have not been taken on the parts of the stakeholders.

From both economic and technical prisms, the option of relocation of Hadejia town concerning impending alert of a flood is not an option based on the fact that different stages of remediation approaches known to universal standards of tackling large magnitude floods and its subsets have not been conducted nor exhausted in Hadejia river valley. In this regards, toward tackling the looming and catastrophic floods as predicted to submerge the ancient city of Hadejia, the following approaches are the recommendations for necessary mitigations, viable and sustainable prevention of the impending disasters:

  1. Assessment of the Upstream Reservoirs Level of Utilization and Frequency of Spillage.
  2. Assessment and Projection of the Effect of Hydro-climatic Data Variability
  3. Assessment of the Impacts of Upstream Human Activities and Foster Remediation Solutions
  4. Assessment and Improvement of the Carrying Capacity of the Major Rivers in the valley of the Hadejia
  5. Design and Construction of Flood Control and Diversion Structures at identified Strategic Locations in the tributaries of the valley
  6. Design and Construction of Flood Control Dams at identified Strategic Locations
  7. Massive Tree Planting across the affected areas and strategy establishment of Giant star grass (Cynadon dactylon) to mitigate the possible occurrence of the predicted landslide.
  8. Massive and comprehensive sensitization/enlightenment campaigns on the actions and in-actions of the populace residing in the areas.
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It is evidently obvious that it might not be possible to completely eliminate flooding in this epoch of climate change and global warming occasioned by human activities. It is however, effectively possible through the above itemized eight (8) approaches outlined to achieve a viable and sustainable development in the Hadejia River Basin, so as to preserve floodplains and meandering of the rivers flowing system in Hadejia tributaries. These approaches if implemented would decrease the outflow velocity of water from the catchment, increase water retention capacity of the Hadejia valley basin and significantly decrease the probability of flooding.

In conclusion, development and implementation of water control infrastructures, remediation of human-induced problems and the identified biological-based solutions can serve as viable and sustainable approaches to improve and optimize the resilience as well as the ability of the Hadejia river basin in minimizing the projected flooding hazard and landslide but not relocating the innocent and the good people of Hadejia from their ancestral land.

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Mohammed Shu’aibu Abubakar is a professor of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. He writes on behalf of Hadejia Emirate Foundation (HEF).

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