Some states in the South-South region in Nigeria say they have put some measures in place to check flooding during 2023 rainy season.
Officials of the state governments made this known in separate interviews against the 2023 flood predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).
The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Mr Charles Udoh, said in Uyo, the state capital, that as part of measures, the state had inaugurated 8.4km flood control project worth $34 million.
“Just in October, 2022, the State Government inaugurated a flood control project worth $34 million.
“The project was initiated in partnership with the World Bank through the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
“The project transverses 18 communities in three local government areas and was designed to carry more than half of the flood water generated in Uyo and environs.
“The state government has also provided 10 alternative sources of water for communities on the line of the project as a way of cushioning the environmental effect of the project.
gave the assurance on Wednesday in Port Harcourt while responding to raising concern about the 2023 flood predictions by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).
“It is expected that the project will permanently arrest the perennial flood problem which had sacked many residents of the affected communities,” Udoh said.
The Akwa Ibom government had earlier warned residents of the state against dumping refuse in drains and water channels to avoid flood disaster during the rainy season.
Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, gave the warning during a stakeholders’ meeting on flood sensitisation, preparedness, mitigation and response recently.
“The 2023 NiMet’s Seasonal Climate Prediction and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) Annual Flood Outlook has already listed our state amongst areas in the country with a high-flood risk.
“Our state is faced with threats and prospects of both natural and man-made disasters which include flooding, thunder storm, heat waves and land slides.
“Also on the rise are man-made disasters such as communal crisis, fire-outbreaks, building collapse, chemical and environmental pollution, amongst others.
“This meeting is a wake-up call for our people to be alive to their own responsibilities in this regard,” Ekpo said.
The deputy governor also urged the people to endeavour to be desilting blocked drainages around them regularly without necessarily being promoted by force.
In Calabar, Mr Princewill Ayim, Director General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, said the state government had taken some steps to curb the menace of flooding in the state.
Ayim disclosed that, in the last quarter of 2022, the state government embarked on aggressive desilting of gutters in major cities across the state to curb flooding.
According to him, the agency also embarked on sensitisation of residents in the state against dumping waste in water channels.
He also said that the agency, in collaboration with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, had sensitised potential builders to avoid erecting structures on water ways.
He condemned the attitude of some residents who ignored regulations guiding building in the state, saying that most people were erecting buildings along the water ways.
“We have completely carried out the desilting of gutters in Calabar metropolis and other urban towns. We did this with a view to drastically reducing flooding in the state.
“We have also sensitised residents in the state against dumping refuse in water ways.
“We have been recording serious cases of flooding in Calabar, but with the steps so far taken, we hope to minimise flooding in the state,” he said.
On his part, Mr Isoboye Jack, Chairman, Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Taskforce, said the agency had partnered relevant stakeholders to boost waste management in the state.
Jack said in Port Harcourt that a committee had already been inaugurated with a charge to work with all stakeholders to ensure effective disposal of waste to curb flooding in the state.
The chairman stated that the committee was also expected to pay special attention to the desilting of drainages and major water channels in the state.
According to him, the collaboration will help check flooding as well as monitor waste collection contractors to enable them to redouble efforts towards riding the streets and drainages of waste.
Meanwhile, Mr Williams Iyama, member, Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON), Rivers chapter, has called on the state government to give priority attention to NiMet’s 2023 flood predictions.
Iyama said such attention was necessary to avoid a repeat of the 2022 flood experience in the state.
“The essence for NiMet’s prediction is to guide us and assist the government come up with proactive policies in respect of flood prevention and management,” he said.
He said that WAMASON would commence enlightenment programme on flooding in local communities in March as part of efforts to curb the menace.
He added that the body, during the exercise, would give out advisory on evacuation of persons living in flood-prone areas.