PROBLEMS OF FLOODING IN DELTA STATE
Most people living in the coastal areas of Delta state may be rendered homeless if the recent forecast of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) about flooding in coastal areas is anything to go by.
The former Ibori-led administration, while it lasted, promised to tackle the problem of perennial flooding particularly in coastal towns such as Warri, Effurun, Ughelli, Sapele and others, but it seemed only lip service was paid to the problem. And, the current government of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan seemed also helpless to address the deplorable situation as most of the often flooded roads have started to collapse. This came at a time when NIMET has predicted that Warri and its environ would have the highest length of rainfall season with 247 days and 2,649mm of rainfall, which would be from March 7, to November 8, 2012.
Followed by Ibadan with 246 days and 1.275mm, the rains in Ibadan are expected to start from March 26 to November 27, 2012 while Nguru has the shortest length of rainfall season of 93 days of 1,675mm. This will run from June 30 to October 3, 2012, followed by Potiskum with 113 days of 494 mm of rainfall. The rains are expected to start from June 23 last till Ocotber 2012.
During last week's rain, residents of Asaba were trapped in their homes, as the roads and streets in the town were flooded as a result of an early morning rain.
The rains which started around 3.ooam stopped only few minutes before 6:00am. It was the third heavy downpour since the beginning of the week.
This had further prompted the increase in transport fare by commercial drivers and motorcyclist. At Biose Mantu Street off the Direct Labour Agency (DLA) road, pedestrians removed their shoes to pass through the flooded road. A portion of the road very close to the Oshimili South local government area secretariat was divided into two by flood, forcing road user on that road to divert through either feeder roads or the Benin-Asaba expressway.
Similarly at the Jesus Saves, Okpanam, and Anwai Government House road the story was the same; the flood slowed down vehicular movements on the roads, with many vehicles broken down. Ezenei Avenue and the popular Nnebisi Road were not spared by the flood, this was in spite of the huge funds, the Delta Government had expended on the flood control in the state.
Recently, Governor Uduaghan ordered the immediate demolition of all illegal structures, including residential fences without approval blocking drains in Asaba as part of measures aimed at solving the flood problem in the city.
LEADERSHIP gathered that no fewer than 78 houses have been reportedly destroyed in heavy rainfall which swept across the state recently.
Affected areas ARE Ika South, Ika North, Obiaruku, Isoko-South, Isoko North, Oko community and other areas of Asaba as owner of the destroyed buildings hitherto have taken refuge in neghbouring state.
Expectedly, the state governor Dr. Uduaghan through the commissioner for works, Mr. Funkekeme Solomon had confirmed that the sum of N32 billion has been spent on the deplorable roads including ecological problems.
Investigations further indicated that several persons have been killed in the wake of erosion menace in Agbor and its environs. Observers blamed the situation on the poor leadership of Governor Udaghan who is said to be insensitive to the needs of the affected people and communities. But the governor has said that the state government has a comprehensive plan to solve the flood, saying that the commissioner for works has been directed to start constructing drainage in some parts of the city to aid water flow pending the award of contract for the massive drainage work of the state capital.
Dr. Uduaghan who gave the order while inspecting major streets in Asaba after a heavy down pour condemned individuals who built structures on drainages in the city. He also direct that all illegal fences not approved by the ministry of lands and survey be removed forthwith. 'These illegal structures are blocking the drainage system, they have to be removed and the drainage channel to a major source for easy flow of water to avoid flooding in the city', he said.
'I want us to get the stage where Asaba will be the cleanest town in the country. It is possible, we can do it. All we need is for the government to play its part, which is what we are doing; the people have to do their own for a better state'.
Meanwhile the Delta State government has been charged to repair the bad roads in the state capital. The past chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Abuja Chapter, Ogbuesi Fred
Okonta decried the poor drainage system which has worsened the problem, thereby preventing access to some parts of the city.
Only recently, residents of Agbor, under the aegis of Agbor Opinion Social League, in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, condemned the slow pace of work on the dualization of the Old Lagos/Asaba Road, Agbor.
In a statement by the group's president and secretary, Dr. C. I. Oteme and Mr. C. F. Ebu respectively, the group condemned the slow pace of work on the road, especially now that there is a complete blockage at the traffic light area which is affecting movement in and out of Boji Boji Agbor.
Meanwhile Uduaghan has been told to declare a state of emergency on schools and roads across the state. The Delta state chairman of the Community Party of Nigeria (CPN), Mr. Mamuzo Emamowho, said in Asaba that bad roads without drainage have exposed residents of Asaba and its environs to the menace of erosion and flooding. He stressed that the ingredients of any democratic system of government are the ability of such a government,to be accountable and transparent to its populace in the management and appropriation of public funds and resources.