As the rains finally returned after a fairly long break, many Nigerians, especially those who live in flood prone areas now live in fears.
This stems from the attendant loss of lives and property whenever there is a deluge due to flooding. The Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet) and the Hydrological Services Agency in separate annual flood outlooks for the year 2020 gave a list of states and local government areas prone to flooding and warned the various state governments as well as the residents on what to do in order to avert possible disasters.
Sunday Telegraph investigations across six states of the federation revealed that if the residents and government do not match words with actions, disasters of the previous years would be a child’s play compared with what may happen this year.
Over 100 Communities submerged in Niger
Already with the recent downpours, some communities are already submerged. In Niger State, not less than 100 communities are under water in 25 local government areas (LGAs) of the state. This much the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso attested to when he said that there is always a rise in water level whenever there is downpour.
He said: “There is always a rise in water level from heavy downpour. No one of the villages in my place has been spared. Once there is a little rain everywhere is flooded. Over 100 villages have been submerged. The only way out of this perennial problem is for the Federal Government to dredge the River Niger from Jebba to Lokoja.”
Commissioner of Environment, Mohammed Zakari, advised that since the rising tide of the rivers could be uncontrollable and dangerous, the riverine communities should immediately relocate to higher plains in order to avoid the catastrophic floods of last year.
Crops, bridges destroyed in 11 LGAs in Kebbi
The situation is not different in Kebbi State where flood waters have destroyed food crops and bridges in 11 local government areas including: Argungu, Birnin Kebbi, Bunza, Suru, Koko Besse, Yauri Shanga, Bagudo, Maiyama, Jega and Dandi.
Six people were killed due to building collapse. In addition, 500,000 hectares of crops including rice, millet, sorghum, maize and sugar cane, were washed away. The state government has offered to mitigate the losses incurred by the farmers.
We are on our own –Rivers’ residents
Residents of flood prone areas of Ogba/ Egbema/ Ndoni, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual, Oyigbo and Ogu/Bolo all in Rivers State have resigned to fate. They look up to God for divine intervention to enable them escape the pounding which comes with flooding.
They have started preparing for the worst. Those in Valley of Decision Estate along Igbo Etche Road, Rumuokwurushi, Port Harcourt said they have resorted to prayers for the rains to slow down in order not to go through what they experienced last year when they resorted to using canoes to navigate the area. After many moved out of the area, those who stayed back paid N100 canoe fare to enter or exit the area.
A resident of the area, Justin Dibia, said: “We know we are on our own, which is why we have been praying that the rain slows down in September, because that is when things get very rough here as regards flooding.”
Borno adopts ingenious means to clean environment
Borno State Commissioner of the Environment, Madu Walama, said in its efforts to rid the state of the perennial problem, government has adopted two measures which include construction of drainages in flood prone areas and provision of palliatives, as well as constitution of a Task Force on the control of flood.
Walama said: “Knowing the fact that Borno is one of the flood-prone states as predicted by the NIMET, in our efforts to avoid disaster, and address flooding, the state government has constructed drainages in Kogin Tiffa, Zannari, Abuja Sheraton, Jiddari, Muna Garage area, Customs Area, Moromoro Bridge, Damasak town, Monguno to address the problem of flood.”
He said: “The government has also completed the construction of drainages in Lassa, Askira Uba local governments, drainages in Ajilari cross, Gonari, as well as sand filling of over 1 million bags to control flood among other in all flood-prone areas across the state.”
We’ll relocate them to IDPs camp –Oyo SEMA
Executive Director Oyo State Emergency Management (SEMA) Mr. Lukman Aransi, has said the state government is working round the clock in order to prevent a repeat of the August 27, 2011 flood during which lives and property worth millions of naira were destroyed. To this end, he said that the Ministry of Environment has set up Flood Management Committees in all the 33 LGAs and 35 Local Council Development Areas. As a practical move to stem flooding in the Pace Setter State, Aransi said that: “People who built houses and shops around floodprone areas across the state may soon be relocated to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp which has been created at Amuloko area of Ona-ara Local Government Area, Ibadan, in order to effectively protect lives and properties of its residents.”
Residents of river banks in Kwara should relocate -Govt
Kwara State Commissioner of the Environment, Mrs. Juliana Oyedun, has said the government has asked all those living in flood prone areas as well as river banks to vacate their abode in order to avert disaster. Also, she said that the government is not toying with the alert and warning which the NiMet gave early in the year.
To this end, it is doing everything possible to nip once and for all the perennial flooding usually witnessed in the state.
“As a first step, we have embarked on sensitisation and advocacy to all ecological prone areas because we believe that the people have a great role to play by ensuring that they stop dropping refuses in the drainage. Besides, people residing near river banks were admonished to vacate those areas, particularly during this raining season.”
We‘re committed to a safe environment in Akwa Ibom -Official
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Environment and Solid Mineral Resources, Dr. Sampson Ekong says the state administration under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel is committed to ensuring a safe environment for all residents. He said: “Akwa Ibom State government is committed to ensuring that our environment is safe.
The Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, is environment-friendly and he is concerned about the erosion and flood menace in the state. The state government has partnership with the World Bank and through this partnership an intervention is going on in the state currently. More are coming which will soon be made public.”
Lagos resident adamant as govt insists on vacation of dangerous zones
Most residents in Lagos State are recalcitrant over the advice to vacate their residences in order to avert disaster.
The government had raised the alarm over the impeding life-threatening flood arising from intense downpour, opening of Ogun River dam among others, warning residents, particularly those residing in the flood-prone areas to vacate the areas temporarily so as to ensure safety of lives and property.
Consequently, the state government urged residents of four local government areas, especially those with structures in low lying areas to relocate during this period to avoid flood-related disaster.
Why we can’t vacate now – Residents
Apparently unsure of where to move to, some residents have also expressed their displeasure over the advice to move to “a presumed safer place”. They said they have nowhere to move to but can only manage in their houses which the government has described as unsafe. According to a Mushin resident, Mrs. Waliu Shonibare, the only option she had is to pray for her safety and that of our belongings.
“It is easier said than done. When the government said we should vacate, the question is to where? Do you just move to a place that is not yours all because of flood,” she queried.
Igbojiya residents panic
Residents of Igbojiya, are already losing sleep over what they described as a prelude to the anticipated heavy rains. Following last week’s down pour, inhabitants of Igbojiya have taken panic steps to fix roads while calling on the relevant state agencies to help clear the canal in the community which has been blocked with building by individuals who are eager to own a property in the fast developing Lekki axis.
The Interim Chairman, Igbojiya Community, Mr. Ayawande Akinola James, recently embarked on publicity awareness through various interviews on Radio Lagos, to possibly get the attention of the government to the plight of the residents.