Fear spreads in flood-prone areas as Sept rains loom
Samson Folarin, Adelani Adepegba, Okechukwu Nnodim, Sunday Nwakanma, Godwin Isenyo, Ada Wodu, John Charles, Raphael Ede, Samson Folarin, Itode Samson, Raphael Ede, John Charles and James Abraham
The states to be affected by the looming flood, according to the Director-General of NIHSA, Mr Clement Eze, are Cross River, Oyo, Enugu, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abia, Jigawa, Adamawa, Delta, Rivers and Bauchi as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
This year’s flood, he said, could be catastrophic because “flood from the upper reaches of the Niger Basin comprising Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad and Cameroon will be coming to Nigeria in about a month’s time.”
But while some residents are heeding this warning, others are not. They claim they have no money to rent new apartments. But majority are expressing fear that they could lose all they have laboured for if the state governments fail to mitigate the effect of the impending flood.
In Kaduna State, it was discovered that despite warnings of imminent floods in some areas of the state, residents of Kigo Road New Extension, Kotangora Estate, parts of Ungwan-Rimi, all in Kaduna North and South Local Government Areas of the state, were unperturbed.
He lamented that if the Nasir-el-Rufai government had done its own beat, the perennial flooding in the area would have ended.
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Olushola said, “We are aware of the flood alerts but the government has not really done well in terms of sensitisation. We have resolved that we shall accommodate our neighbours living close to the river if there is flooding.
But Okechukwu David, a resident of Kigo Road New Extension, another flood – prone area in the state, said relocating remained a pipe dream due to the current economic hardship in the country.
An official of the Kaduna State Environmental Protection Agency, who pleaded anonymity, told The PUNCH that there was no way the government could dredge the river before September.
One of the victims of the recent flooding in the state, Inyang Akak, who resides on Archibong Ika Street behind the Cross River University of Technology staff quarters in Calabar South, narrated his harrowing experience after a downpour recently.
However, the acting Director-General of SEMA, Princewill Anyim, said “structural and non structural steps” were being taken to prevent flooding in the wake of the warning by NIHSA.
Stating the preparedness of Nkpolu community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State towards the impending flooding, the Chairman, Community Development Association of the community, Achinike Orugbuogwu, said some residents of his community had fled the area.
When contacted to speak on the efforts being made by the state government to mitigate the effect of the predicted flooding, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Paulinus Nsirim, said the government had scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to discuss strategies it would employ to tackle the impending flood crisis.
However, the people living around flood-prone areas in Makurdi, Benue State may have resigned themselves to fate despite the warning given by the state government that they should vacate the areas.
She said, “We are used to flood in this area and the state government has been telling us to relocate but where are we relocating to? If the state government provides a place for us, we will gladly move to the place, until then we will wait to see the flood.”
When one of our correspondents visited the bank of River Benue, it was observed that the volume of water was steadily rising sending ominous signs of imminent flood.
Gbileka maintained that his office had put every necessary mechanism in place to carry out demolition of such buildings and clear the drains for free passage of water at various flood-prone areas particularly around Gboko Road, North Bank area and Wadata axis.
However, some residents of Ngenanwanta – Ezinesi and Ohofia both in Oduma Town in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State have started relocating from their houses after the flood warning alert.
The leader of the community, Moses Onyeabor, who conducted one of our correspondents round the houses where the occupants had abandoned and relocated to safer area, said they left because of the horrible experiences they faced in the past due to flooding.
Another resident, Bishop Nwigwe Njoku, told The PUNCH that he could not abandon his house because, he had no building elsewhere to relocate to.
In Lagos State, some residents of the flood-prone areas have disagreed with the government over preparations being made to mitigate the impending flooding in September.
He said, “In all parts of Ikorodu, there is nothing to show there is any preparation for flood. Even the roads the government was constructing have been abandoned. The two major roads under construction in Igbogbo and Ishawo have been neglected. People are suffering here.”
“Where people are well coordinated and the gutters are cleared, the maximum time is 15 minutes. But when the tertiary gutters are blocked, there could be stagnant water for up to a week.”
However, the spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency, South-West zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, explained that the agency held a meeting with the state’s emergency agencies to prepare them for the coming flood.
“In every part of the country, there has been consistent rainfall. But in Lagos, in the past three weeks, there has not been rainfall, and that is a signal that when the rain eventually comes, it could be forceful.
He said, “We realised the topography and the vulnerability of Lagos State to flood. Empirically, we have analysed that out of the 57 LGAs in Lagos, about 33 of them are vulnerable to flood. So, we are strengthening our local emergency committees. We have also started carrying out simulation among key stakeholders that are important in managing emergency in the state.
“It is not only in Bende , it is in Isikwuato and Ohafia. If we keep quiet, our communities will be completely wiped off. The action has to be now to avoid greater damage. It is killing us and leaving the living with the pangs of hunger,” he said.Read more: The Punch Newspapers
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