Experts proffer solutions to perennial flooding in South-East
Experts in environmental matters in the South-East have recommended pragmatic measures to combat perennial flooding in the zone.
They spoke in separate interviews on the huge environmental and fatal impact of this year’s flooding in different cities and communities.
In Abia, the state chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Stephen Nwazue, blamed the phenomenon on non-adherence to land use regulations.
Mr Nwazue said although there were other causative factors, uncontrolled land use due to non-adherence to land use regulations through
“connection to government officials” remained a major cause of flooding in the South-East.
He, therefore, called on the government to collaborate with the institute to ensure strict implementation of urban development master plans at the state and federal levels.
Also, the executive secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, Sunday Jackson, said the government had continued to sensitise the people, especially flood-prone communities, on the dangers of flooding and preventive measures.
He, however, regretted that people hardly take proactive measures of early warning actions to relocate from the riverine areas.
In Ebonyi, some respondents advised the federal government to enter into an agreement with the Cameroonian authorities on a more effective way to forestall flooding from the release of water from the Lagdo Dam.
Ifeanyi Onu, one of the respondents, also charged the federal government to take proactive steps ahead of the opening of the dam to safely channel the waters out to prevent huge flooding as often experienced in the country.
Willson Nwali called for the implementation of extant legislation banning the building of houses on natural waterways and drainages.
Also, Kenneth Nwegede urged the river basin development authorities, SEMA and town planners to enforce regulations criminalising the building of permanent structures on waterways.
Mr Nwegede also charged the National Orientation Agency to carry out a massive sensitisation, awareness campaign and a task force to monitor and ensure houses were not built on drainages.
A civil servant, John Mbam, also advised governments in the South-East to construct sufficient drains and modern drainages for properly channelling rainwater to major rivers and canals to end flooding.
In Enugu State, the NITP chairman, Udeh Ogbonna, said the developmental law in the state empowers them to ensure that no one builds on drainages and waterways.
Mr Ogbonna advocated the strict enforcement of environmental laws to check the indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Chinedu Ozochioke, the head of physical planning and development at Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), said that the authority does not hesitate to demolish houses built on waterways.
“We take flood areas into consideration before approving a layout or structure for anyone that wants to build,” Mr Ozochioke said.
Emeka Obinwa, the media assistant to Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra on SEMA, blamed the flooding on poor environmental attitudes by many people.
Mr Obinwa said that many urban dwellers do not heed government advice on proper refuse disposal, arguing that flooding would be minimal if people should obey environmental regulations against blocking the water channels.
An Awka-based town planner, Emmanuel Okoye, said flooding could also result from the abuse of settlement plans and called on Nigerians always to obey professional advice on issues that could result in flooding.
For Jude Nwankwo, programme manager, Agricultural Development Programme, the current flooding meant that the prices of foodstuffs would soon hit the rooftop.
Mr Nwankwo warned the government and residents to be prepared for imminent food shortage in the state.
A media practitioner, Casmir Maduforo, blamed this year’s flooding on the federal government’s alleged failure to take adequate steps to avert the disaster.
“Nigeria recorded serious flooding in 2012. We have it again this year due to excess water released from Ladgo Dam in Cameroon.
“Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any plan by the federal government to find a lasting solution to the problem.”
In Imo, some farmers feared that this year’s flooding would lead to acute food shortages and exorbitant prices and recommended an immediate review of the 2023 budgetary allocation to agriculture, especially for the procurement of foodstuffs to ameliorate the looming famine.
Charles Uwa, who commended the government’s efforts to boost food production in the country, called for judicious budget implementation.
Also, Udochukwu Anyanwu advised the government to conduct a needs assessment amongst farmers to ensure that the budgetary allocation was properly invested in specific areas of need.
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