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Tackling Persistent Floods In A‘Ibom

Tackling Persistent Floods In A‘Ibom

Over the years, floods have continued to pose negative but disturbing pictures to many people living in flood-prone areas in the world. In Nigeria, the story is not different particularly during dry season as some households in parts of the North are worst off and in the South, it is worsening as many engage in battle with flooding during the rainy season in desperate attempts to protect their property, families and life.
In Akwa Ibom State, the story is rather sad but worrying. As soon as the rainy season sets in, some people wish the nightmarish experience is a moonlight tale, considering the colossal damage and havoc the ‘uninvited visitor’ has yearly but severely perpetuated in their psyche and existence.
Faced with the crushing poverty, some flood-ravaged victims in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State are still counting their losses since the rains set in this year. For example, the heavy downpour of June 5 and 12 destroyed many houses and basic infrastructures as well as washed away many farmlands. After the deluge, the affected endlessly narrated their woes to reporters of Comfort FM, Passion FM, AKBC Radio and Excel Radio even NTA Uyo.
From the flood-prone depressions of Abak road/Nkemba area, Udo Eduok, Nsentip, Port Harcourt Street, Ikot Ekpene road (near former AKTC), Dominic Utuk Avenue, Aka Itiam Road by Udo Umanah Street to Ewet/Uruan Street, the story was the same.
From Ibom Connection Plaza, Atiku Abubakar Avenue, Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat adjoining Accountant-General’s Office, Atan Offot up to Afaha village, Shelter Afrique, IBB Way by Ukpong Ebet and Akpa Ebet Streets, Idoro Road, Ikot Oku Ikono area, Nelson Mandela Street up to Itam Junction Flyover, Mbiabong, Ifa Ikot Okpon Road, among others, the people- house owners and tenants- joined in sending Save-Our-Souls message to the state government to come to their rescue.
For 2019, the persistent flooding of Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria is miserably heart-rending to the residents and passers-by in the metropolis. Uyo is an urban centre and is one of the emerging fastest growing cities in Nigeria. The geology of Akwa Ibom State is dominantly that of the coastal plain sands of tertiary origin, with crystalline rocks of the basement complex outcropping in the North and North-Eastern flanks of the state.
Unfortunately, most flood problems in Uyo metropolis are associated with depressions in the undulating plains. A cursory study shows that the flood is caused by indiscriminate disposal of refuse in the drains by some unscrupulous persons, building of property along flood-prone areas, activities of sound excavators, poor construction of drains, improper implementation of Uyo Masterplan, effects of climate change and steep marginal lands around Uyo metropolis which should otherwise be conserved are developed due to increased need for sites for housing and other architectural developments apart from cultivation.
We appreciate the efforts of some past and present administrations in the state in controlling floods in the state and in the metropolis. Yakubu Bako administration evacuated water from ‘river’ Uruan Street. Victor Attah administration provided Nkemba Trough. Godswill Akpabio administration built pipe jacking system at Itam flyover to control flood in the area, construction of Abak pipe jacking system and provided drainage system from Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo that emptied into wallowing drain in Ikot Iko. Udom Emmanuel administration built underground drain and asphalted Akwa Efak Road, thus sacking floods at Nsikak Eduok Avenue.
Owing to the untold damage floods have visited on infrastructural development in Uyo metropolis, we are constrained to call on Akwa Ibom government to put up more concerted efforts by proffering empirical solutions to solve the perennial flooding devastating the metropolis. There is no problem without solution and we believe that flood has solution which government can provide the remedy.
We are aware that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) makes provision for payment of Ecological Funds to states in which Akwa Ibom State is a beneficiary and it behoves on the government to timely and appropriately utilize the money in controlling the withering floods and rendering succor to the victims.
For instance, many have been displaced from homes, lost personal valuables, and are being faced with fear and insecurity. Others have lost business patronage, and other means of livelihood.Tourism, farming and livestock are equally affected. Indeed, public utilities and transport infrastructure are rendered inefficient by floods. Potable water supplies have been contaminated with immediate health effects on human beings and domestic animals in some areas. Electricity supply and other vital infrastructures have been damaged.
Since the gory floods have so far destroyed property and farmlands worth millions of Naira in the state, we hereby call on the state government to pay compensation to people who have lost theirs, after all the primary duty of government is to provide welfare for its citizenry.
For private developers, they should always obtain valid approvals from Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) to avoid indiscriminate buildings and blocking of drains along flood-risky areas.
At the same time, UCCDA officials should be alive to their responsibility by always ensuring property developers who meet the pre-requisite requirements are given approvals. Officials of UCCDA who compromise in the performance of their legitimate duty should be penalised by government to serve as deterrent to others.
The state Ministry of Works should be on alert and to carry out effective monitoring and supervision of roads by construction companies to ensure that they handle integrated drain patterns according to specifications in the Bill of Quantities and avoid carrying out shoddy jobs which may block drains in the metropolis.
Again, we want the ministry to cover big drains along Four Lanes and other streets as such pose danger to motorists and pedestrians on rainy days.
Architects, town planners and estate surveyors should upgrade their designs strategies, and building plans in ensuring the houses and property are not sited on flood-prone areas.
Local government chairmen and oil companies operating in the state must join hands in curbing the menacing floods that have dealt deadly blows on many families particularly the financially challenged ones.
We want to call on the state Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources to enforce laws on indiscriminate disposal of refuse by individuals and companies to ensure that they do not block drains where rains could be impeded from flowing with resultant flooding.
By tackling the persistent floods in the state and indeed in Uyo, the residents and property owners will be happy in having an unhindered access to their properties and operating their private businesses in an unfettered atmosphere thereby helping them to contribute their quota to the development of the state and nation at lar

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