“The Jobbers in the flood” by Osiobe Tobore Raphael (TBR Studios) is an ongoing project showcasing how some young anonymous teenage boys were helping at a price, motorists whose vehicles broke down in the flood at Adolor College Road Junction, Benin City. A dangerous job you may say, but many factors have led them to do this kind of odd job. Tobore aims to project this problem of flooding that we humans have aggravated by our lifestyles; the way we manage domestic waste, the way we now build our homes, our transport systems, etc, and the dangers it poses. He hopes this project will help us see why we need to make amends to our ways of living.
Nigeria, during the rainy season, faces the big problem of flooding which inundates many states of the country from the north down to the south, killing many people, destroying their infrastructure, sources of livelihood, and also causing some health challenges. Several reasons have been attributed to this natural disaster but science has said the most imposing cause is the presence of excess carbon (iv) oxide – CO2 in the atmosphere, which has been introduced by the burning of fossil fuels. Other causes/factors or a combination of factors include; prolonged heavy rainfall, severe winds over water, unusually high tides, tsunamis, failure of dams, retention ponds, blockage of natural or artificial waterways, and drainage systems, improper town planning, etc. Flooding can be increased also by deforestation and desertification, which reduces the vegetation that can absorb rainfall and reduce runoffs.
Many LGAs in Edo yearly face similar flood challenges as documented by Tobore and such floods arise as a result of some of the factors mentioned above. The flood at the location of this project is primarily a result of blocked waterways and drainage systems; improper town planning and an increase in the number of buildings with paved surfaces that prevent percolation during heavy downpours. A warning from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET has gone out to state governments including Edo of the impending heavy rainfall which would most likely cause flooding. The prediction released by NIMET named Etsako East and Esan South East LGAs as the highly probable flood-risk areas in Edo, while the low probable flood-risk areas are Ikpoba Okha, Oredo, Etsako Central, Esan North East, and Ovia North East LG Areas.
This is a clarion call to governments at all levels and citizens to put in place measures such as desilting of drainage systems, canals, and waterways to allow the flow of water, and also to other responsible agencies to put in place disaster management schemes in case the flood becomes overwhelming.
Osiobe Tobore Raphael is an artist, a Portrait, and Documentary Photographer based in Benin City and Lagos, Nigeria. His work is centered around beauty, culture, and identity. More of his work can be seen on his Instagram page
Text by Obayanju Babawale.