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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Anxious Anambra coastal communities seek dredging of River Niger

Ogbaru people living on the borderline of River Niger in Anambra State have called on the Federal Government to dredge the river as a permanent solution to perennial flooding of the area.

River Niger
The River Niger

The residents who spoke through their leaders made the call during Early Warning Sensitisation visit of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to Ogbaru and Ihiala Areas on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Mr Arinzechukwu Awogu, Transition Committee Chairman, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra, said the council had 16 communities which all lived on the bank of River Niger.

Awogu said since the flooding of 2012 which left colosal damage on the people, River Niger had continued to overflow its bank every rainy season.

“We gathered that this regular flooding resulting from the overflow of River Niger will continue because of excess sand in the river which requires dredging.

“Since the reason for the yearly flooding has been known, we appeal on the Federal Government to dredge the River Niger so as to put an end to the problem,” he said.

Awogu said that 12 persons lost their lives due 2018 flooding in the area and commeded SEMA and NEMA teams for the sensitisation visit.

Igwe Vincent Ijoma, the traditional ruler of Ochuche Umuodu Community of Ogbaru, corroborated the call for dredging of the river and said it was a better step rather than spending huge sums of money through relief materials to flood victims.

“When emergency happens more than once, it is no longer emergency and so government should find a permanent solution to it,” he said.

Mr Greg Okafor, Transition Committee Chairman, Ihiala Local Government Area, appealed to government to assist flood victims in Uli and Azia that were recently affected by flood.

Okafor commended SEMA for its plan to establish 28 holding centres across the state in preparation for 2019 flooding.

Mr Emeka Obinwa, Executive Assistant to Gov. Willie Obiano on SEMA (Media), said the visit was to alert residents of coastal communities in Anambra of impending flooding this year.

He said the state had holding centres numbering 28, located in Ihiala, Ogbaru, Anambra East, Ananmbra West, Awka North and Ayamelum Local Government Areas for flooding victims.

Mr Fred Anusim, Co-ordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-East zone, said there was the need for local government areas to set up Local Emergency Committee.

Mr Kennedy Ekeh, another official of NEMA, in a lecture entitled: “Flooding in Ananmbra; Causes, Impact and Management”, warned residents of the area to heed early warning to avoid loss of lives and important property.

Ekeh told participants to constantly watch the rising river levels and relocate to safety area to avoid being victims of flooding.

By Francis Onyeukwu

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