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A media framing analysis of urban flooding in Nigeria: current narratives and implications for policy

Adekola, Olalekan; Lamond, Jessica


Olalekan Adekola

Jessica Lamond
College Dean for Research & Enterprise


© 2017, The Author(s). A critical element of current flood management is the importance of engaging key policy actors when policy decisions are to be made. However, there is still only limited understanding of how narratives of flood management actors may influence flood management policies, even though there is a suggestion that actors can strategically use their narratives to influence policy directions. In a developing country like Nigeria, there are still questions around lessons that can be learnt from understanding the narratives of policy actors, to unravel the complex nature of strategies and policy directions in managing urban floods. To help fill these gaps, this paper uses quantitative content analysis to explore the frame of five policy actor groups (government, local communities, business, multilateral organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)) as expressed in local and national newspapers between 2012 and 2016 to understand their narratives of causes and strategies to solve the problem of urban flooding in Nigeria. The narratives of government, local communities and businesses align with the premise that flooding can and should be prevented whilst that of multilateral and business actors champion adaptation strategies on the basis that flooding is inevitable and hence more energy should be directed at ‘living with water’—emergency response, damage reduction and the aftermath. The study also identified areas of potential consensus and conflict between direct actors such as government and local communities on the one hand and funders on the other. Better discussion among actors aiding understanding of contemporary thinking and local realities will aid policy-making and policy implementation in the Nigerian context. An important step will be in the collaborative design of an urgently needed ‘Nigerian policy on flooding’ which currently does not exist.


Adekola, O., & Lamond, J. (2018). A media framing analysis of urban flooding in Nigeria: current narratives and implications for policy. Regional Environmental Change, 18(4), 1145-1159.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 8, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 21, 2017
Publication Date Apr 1, 2018
Journal Regional Environmental Change
Print ISSN 1436-3798
Electronic ISSN 1436-378X
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 4
Pages 1145-1159
Keywords content analysis, developing countries, discourse infrastructure, narratives
Public URL
Publisher URL


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