The Akwa Ibom State Government has directed people living in low-lying coastal areas to relocate upland for safety to ensure adequate preparation against impending heavy rainfall predicted by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet).
The Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, said this during the sensitisation of 948 villages in the flood prone local government areas (LGAs) of the state in Uyo, the state capital, on Saturday, August 15, 2020.
Ekpo urged relevant stakeholders to ensure compliance with environmental laws through the regular clearing of drainaige channels and dumping of refuse at authorised places.
According to him, following NiMet prediction, the state government has begun a multi-prong approach of sensitising the masses on the dangers of flood devastation.
Ekpo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s office, Mr Nkpouruk Ekaiko, said that the government would come-up with strict preventive measures to avert flooding.
He said that strategic awareness campaigns were key to saving lives and combating the scourge of floods in the country.
“The current anti-flooding campaigns in 16 flood prone LGAs must reach the 948 villages, in order to ensure preparedness on the part of the residents.
“Therefore, I urged you to strategise and come up with measures that will ensure strict efforts to prevent impending dangers,’’ he said.
Ekpo advised local government chairmen to ensure flood prevention and establishment of feedback mechanisms to enable people make timely report in the event of flooding to avoid casualties.
He said that, for the campaign to succeed, “traditional and modern means of communication must be used to enlighten people on devastating effects of flooding on property and attendant loss of lives’’.
Ekpo urged village heads and the traditional institutions to mobilise traditional methods of communicating with their subjects, especially those living in remote coastal communities for them to beware of the impending floods.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Frank Archibong, emphasised on preventive measures of flood control.
Archibong, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Mbuk Inyang, said that prevention was better than tackling flooding when it had already started.
He said there was a need for the council chairmen to be proactive by building strong synergies with their respective communities to ensure their involvement in safe environmental practices.
By Isaiah Eka