The third annual Omafuru Foundation Essay Writing Competition to commemorate the World Environment Day, 2018 attracted a record 133 entries from Junior Secondary School students in Warri, Delta State. Participants were required to write on the topic ‘Combating the Menace of Flooding in Nigeria.’ Flooding has become a critical issue in Nigeria and we wish to use this medium to awaken everyone on the roles we can play in curbing this anomaly.
Our actions and inactions contribute to the menace, and it is unfortunate that the growth and expansion of cities have been largely unregulated. Consequently, our abodes, particularly low-lying areas, are at risk of flooding. By constructing buildings on water ways, indiscriminate use and disposal of plastic wares and exhibiting bad waste disposal habits, we block the drains and thus compound the problem further.
We must conform to the natural physiographic characteristics of the landscape and discard our poor living habits that leave floods canals and drainage channels silted and filled up with sand, plastics, cans, and bottles, sachets of “pure” water and other non-biodegradable wastes. Through our representatives in government, we must push for the enactment of laws that underlie the enforcement of environmental standards and regulations.
At a time like this, it is important that we remind ourselves of the need to respect and protect the environment in order to ensure a safer and sustainable environment for us and future generations. Our objective is to sensitize residents in our various communities to join hands in promoting a cleaner and healthier society. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the threats posed by flooding and other environmental challenges are properly tackled to bring about a sustainable environment.
The remarkable success of the 2018 annual essay competition gives an indication that our goal of promoting a sustainable environment through education and enlightenment is already being realized. The competition has grown in popularity with increased participation and this explains the reason for the delay in the announcement of the result this year. Please accept our apologies as the panel of judges needed more time to do a thorough job of assessing the 133 entries from 16 schools.
While frowning at the high level of plagiarism witnessed in the competition this year, we congratulate the few students who through hard work and honest efforts have carried out proper research on the topic.
Our appreciation goes to the school principals and teachers that made it possible for the students to participate. In a special way, we also appreciate our panel of judges for their painstaking effort in going through the entries and the arduous task of selecting the winners. In selecting the winners, they considered the content, grammar, originality and illustration of all the entries. After a rigorous selection process, the following students were selected as the eventual winners:
1st Position – Akinterinwa Emerald Ogame (College of Education Demonstration Sec Sch)
2nd Position – Olite Ngozi (Alvina’s High School, Effurun)
3rd Position – Asifor Oritseweyinmi Joseph (College of Education Demonstration Sec Sch)
Emerald demonstrated a clear understanding of the topic and suggested provision and construction of good drainage system especially in areas prone to flood as one of the steps to be taken in addressing the negative trend in Nigeria. She also advocated for proper waste disposal habits noting that ‘Nigerians have turned available drainage systems to their quickest point of disposing refuse.’ According to her, everyone is responsible. We all ‘need to play our parts to see that flooding is completely combated and defeated in Nigeria.’
A similar approach has also been presented by Ngozi who identified regular clearing of solid wastes from gutters to allow free flow of water to the right channels. She believes that a stricter implementation of environmental laws will be helpful in this regard. The Second Place Winner also advocates the ‘construction of more dams along rivers that overflow into neighbouring land’ as this will reduce the speed and volume of water carried by river.
For Joseph, tackling the problem of flooding that has bedevilled Nigeria requires ‘discipline and determination from all and sundry.’ Every citizen irrespective of his or are status in the society must be willing to make sacrifices and contribute their quota ‘towards conquering and destroying flooding that stands as a giant or Goliath to different parts of Nigeria.’ Joseph went on to identify flood risk management practices including flood forecasting, flood early warning system and flood damage estimation as tools for effective flood management.
Our panel of judges also regard the views expressed by the following students on ways of combating the menace of flooding in Nigeria to be worthy of commendation and hence they deserve the 10 consolation prizes:
- Ehimatie Oyemen – Nana Model College, Warri
- Aigbemolen Osborne – Cambridge International School, Warri
- Oghogu Favour – Nana Model College, Warri
- Tuoyo Oritsetseti Rita – Jenny Secondary School, Ekete
- Precious Andrew – Nana Model College, Warri
- Oritsejafor Shemaye – Nana Model College, Warri
- Arionmawha Praise – Ovwian Secondary School, Ovwian
- Owivri Nathan – College of Edu. Demonstration Secondary Sch.
- Olaram Jessica – Nana Model College, Warri
- Onamejere Divine – Cambridge International School, Warri
Prizes will be awarded to the winners at their respective schools on a day agreed by the school management.
We congratulate the winners and appreciate the efforts of all who submitted entries. It is our desire that more students will participate in future competitions. Once again, we are challenging everyone to play a part in protecting our environment to make the world a better place for us and for future generations to live in.
Michael Akusu Jr.
Director of Operations