Kaduna Public Lecture
Engr. (Mrs.) Nnoli Akpedeye FNSE, FNICE, PMP, FMP
President, The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria
APWEN Public Lecture titled:
“Strategies for Flood Mitigation in Nigeria”
at Kaduna Polytechnic on 21st March 2014
I am most delighted to address this august gathering today. This month is the International Month of Women and it is an honour to be in the midst of such vibrant professional women and of course, gentlemen of high repute.
Since 1975 the United Nations has celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March and in his address to commemorate IWD 2014, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated that:
‘Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.
Companies with more women leaders perform better.
Peace agreements that include women are more durable.
Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.’
There is no greater truism than the foregoing, especially for our country Nigeria. I therefore urge APWEN members in particular to take up this challenge and make positive, deliberate, giant strides to contribute our quota to Nigeria’s economic, political and social development.
Flooding of urban and rural dwellings remains a major problem during the rainy season in many parts of Nigeria. This is mainly caused by poor drainage infrastructure and inevitably leads to unbearable living conditions for the inhabitants of such areas as well as destructive erosion problems. In Warri, where I live, newcomers are generally advised to search for accommodation during the rainy season so they do not inadvertently rent a seasonally flooded apartment.
According to the National Emergency Management Agency the unprecedented flood of 2012, which hit 33 states of the Federation, also led to the death of 363 people, the displacement of 2.1 million people and affected over 7 million people across Nigeria. Many of these citizens are still struggling to recover from the socio-economic devastation on their own, having long been forgotten by most government and humanitarian agencies.
Fortunately, contrary to widespread predictions, 2013 was less crisis-ridden due to some flood mitigation strategies adopted in various parts of the country. This will be the crux of today’s lectures and I look forward eagerly to most enlightening and enriching presentations and discussions from our erudite scholars and distinguished audience.
Subsequent to this lecture, APWEN will develop a framework for the active involvement of female engineers to address the menace of flooding in Nigeria and work with relevant agencies to implement identified flood mitigation strategies.
After all, in the words of Mahatma Ghandi:
‘Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity.
If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior.
If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women.’
So let’s take our future into our own hands by paying rapt attention to the lectures of today and crystalizing our thoughts towards what contributions you and I can make to alleviate the menace of flooding and erosion in Nigeria.