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Development Cable

FACT CHECK: Were 31 states in Nigeria submerged by flooding?

BY Lanre Olagunju

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A Twitter post has claimed that 31 states were submerged during the recent flooding in Nigeria.

31 of 36 states in Nigeria are underwater, the whole country’s never flooded like this. Just fyi,” the account tweeted to its over 19,300 followers.

The Twitter post by @MazvitaJames, published on October 20, gathered over 2,723 retweets and 7,529 likes.

It was observed that the account restricted comments to the tweet which might be responsible for the low comments beneath the post.

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The tweet has since elicited responses from persons within and outside Nigeria lamenting the media’s failure to report that 31 states in Nigeria were submerged.

“That’s a lie c’mon. Stop misinforming people,” reads one of the hidden comments.

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A screengrab of the tweet found its way to Instagram, via an account by the username, theslowfactory, a non-governmental agency engaging innovation and science to address climate justice and human rights.

The Instagram account has 464,000 followers. The post alleging that 31 states in Nigeria were submerged gathered 25, 869 likes and 67 comments.

The 2022 flooding in Nigeria

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The 2022 flooding in Nigeria is one of the country’s most severe flooding disasters since 2012. As of October 24th, the country’s ministry of humanitarian affairs said over 3.2 million people have been affected with more than 600 deaths.

The report from the federal government shows that the flood disaster destroyed hundreds of farmlands, while thousands of houses were submerged in different states across the country.

Verification

On September 7, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) announced that its seasonal flood outlook for the year indicates that 32 states of the federation and the federal capital territory (FCT) fall within the highly probable flood risk areas.

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As of September, Clement Nze, director-general of NIHSA, said 20 states in Nigeria were affected by the flood.

Two weeks later, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the excess water released in Cameroon from the Lagdo dam would cause heavy flooding in 13 of the already affected states.

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Among the states listed to be affected were Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross River, Rivers, and Bayelsa.

In a statement issued on Friday, October 21, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said the number of states affected increased to 34.

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“The floods, which have affected 34 out of the 36 states in the country, have displaced 1.3 million people. Over 600 people have lost their lives, and over 200,000 houses have either been partially or fully damaged,” UNICEF said.

No state was totally submerged

The Oxford English dictionary defines the phrase ‘underwater’ as ‘below the surface of water’. It could also imply total submersion. 

On November 3, Sadiya Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, declared Jigawa the most affected state by the flood disaster in the country.

TheCable reported how Jigawa states Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said 51 people out of the state’s 4.3m population had died as a result of the flood.

The declaration by Farouq that Jigawa is the worst hit, attracted criticism from the residents of Bayelsa. The Bayelsa emergency management agency said 96 deaths had been recorded and about 1.2 million people were displaced. 

The Niger Delta caucus in the house of representatives argued that available statistics reveal that Bayelsa it as the worst hit by the flood.

While Bayelsa and Jigawa have tussled over which is the worst hit, both states were never totally submerged by the flooding disaster.

No credible local or international media platform has reported that an entire state in Nigeria was submerged by flooding, let alone 31 of the 36 states in Nigeria. 

Verdict

The flood in Nigeria affected 34 and not 31 states as claimed in the social media post. Also, the affected states had communities that were underwater, in no case was an entire state fully submerged as implied. The claim is exaggerated and misleading.


This fact check was produced by TheCable with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

 

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