Citizen Participation and Flood Management: Lessons for Public Policy Implementation in Nigeria

Taiwo Oladeji Adefisoye


One of the key elements that determine an effective flood management system is the level of citizen participation. Over the years, it is noticeable that disaster management practice as it relates to flood management in Nigeria revolves majorly around government agencies and assumes a formal-institutional, top-down, agency-driven and centralized forms. Although, the National Disaster Management Framework of 2010 provides for the inclusion of all stake-holders in the overall management of disasters, there is still a growing apathy towards disaster management in Nigeria.  By implication, flood management has been less dynamic and grossly inefficient in Nigeria due to the low involvement of citizens in the overall processes of planning, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. This study highlights the centrality of citizen participation in flood management using South-west Nigeria, a region that is constantly prone to threats of flood every year, as a case study.  Data for the study were obtained from both primary and secondary sources. For the primary sources, a total of 180 questionnaires were administered in selected communities across four out of the six states that make up the region. Besides, key informant interviews were conducted with relevant stake-holders.  Also, available literature was critically reviewed and reports were examined to generate secondary data. This work identifies inherent flaws in the top-down, agency-driven approaches to flood management and explains how an all-inclusive, citizen-centered approach could yield better results. It was discovered that affected communities, prior to the flood incidents of 2011 and 2012 did not have concrete and functional mitigation plans aside the conventional monthly environmental sanitation exercise which is not even mandatory. Besides the absence of well-planned mitigation framework, it was discovered   that the level of interaction between government agencies and citizens as it relates to flood management is low in the study areas. The paper argues that the level of citizen involvement would determine to a large extent the degree of success recorded by any government agency saddled with the responsibility of flood management and at the same time, determine the successful implementation of flood management policies. The paper recommends among other things that flood management agencies should factor in citizen participation in the overall process of flood management.

Key words: Citizen Participation; Flood Management; Public Policy; Co-production

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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