In a bid to checkmate the expected flooding that comes with the raining season, the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority (RSESA), Mr. Ade Adeogun, has said that the aim of the early disilting of the Ntawogba Creek was to forestall any flooding that may overwhelm residents of Port Harcourt.
Adeogun, who was speaking to newsmen recently when he inspected ongoing disilting work on the waterway said it was important to clean the creek and clear the drains and then make sure that there was free flow of water when the rain comes.
On the challenges facing the disilting process, the sanitation boss said there were a lot of private people who have boldly encroached on the waterway thereby impeding all attempts by the authority to do a smooth job.
He said because they have properties standing on the path of the waterway, “whatever we do, their property will not allow the free flow of water.”
On why people continue to get approvals to build on water ways despite the negative consequences, Mr. Adeogun expressed doubt over the genuineness of the approvals.
“I do not think that any responsible government agency can give approval for this kind of risk.
“Even from the fence, you can see that it is caving in, you can see that the integrity of the property is already at stake” he pointed out.
On the possibility of the authority carrying out demolitions of property too near the waterway, Mr. Adeogun said the authority has no power to demolish but would inform the appropriate government industry.,
“We cannot demolish, we are going to report to the appropriate government ministry and bring them here to come and see for themselves and we believe they will take action” he said.
For some property with no clear access road, he stated that it was evident that owners of such properties had plans of filling up the water path to enable them have access to their property.
He expressed fear that if such was the case then “disaster will happen for people who are living on the upper side of the river.”
On the possibility of the authority taking legal steps against the encroachments, the sanitation boss explained that in as much as he cannot speak for the Ministries of Works and Urban Development, it was important both ministries visit the places concerned and take a look.
He said they should come and see if actually they approved the margin or gap between the properties and the water itself, even as he said there was need for a bill and some government intervention in that regard.
On the part of residents who live along the Ntawogba creek, especially those in makeshift settlements (batcher) and use the drains as their bathrooms and toilets, Mr. Adeogun said it was a shame that this was happening in Port Harcourt and promised to evacuate the waste.
He further promised to correct the ineffectiveness of some culverts in discharging water into the main water way and attributed the development to such culverts being higher than the track of water.
“I think, this is what I call technical mistakes that were made when the bridges and culverts were being built.”
“Rather than flow across the channel, water is flowing back because the culvert is higher than the water channel
“But we would try and find a way around it” he said.
Sanitation Marshalls Warn Against Dumping Refuse In Gutters
The Coordinator of Rivers
State Sanitation Marshalls, Prince Sodin Akiaba has warned residents of Port Harcourt and it environs against dumping of refuse into drainages.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, Prince Akiabo blamed uses of flooding in parts of Port Harcourt especially in the Mile III area of the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into the gutters.
He said that with the approach of the rainy season, there is need for caution on the part of the people against indiscriminate refuse disposal.
Prince Akiaba said that the situation could lead to massive flooding across the city thereby creating health problem for the people.
He said that there is need for neighbourhood vigilantees to check this situation.
“Every street in Port Harcourt should formed a vigilantee to monitor refuse disposal in their street.
“This is the only way to stop the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drains,” he said.
The coordinator said that the sanitation marshalls can help the government to check this trend, if approval is given to that effect by the government.
He used the occasion to commend the Rivers State Ministry of Environment and the Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority for the efforts in keeping the city clean, but noted that the two agencies need to work with stakeholders for effective result.
NOSDRA Seeks Oil Spill Response Base
The National Oil Spill De
tection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has called on the military to establish an Oil Spill Response Base (OSRB) for quick intervention during oil spill emergencies.
Mr Peter Idabor, the Director General of the agency, made the call during a courtesy visit to Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, the Chief of Naval Staff, in Abuja.
Idabor said the base, if established, would serve as a veritable security for quick response and intervention by the agency during oil spill emergencies.
He recalled the Bonga oil spill incident and commended the Navy for providing a vessel to NOSDRA that ensured quick response.
According to him, crises usually occurred between affected communities and companies involved during oil spill emergencies.
He said partnership with the Navy had become critical due to its role in providing security to the maritime environment.
“It has become more critical for us to partner with the Nigerian Navy, especially when it has to do with issues relating to oil spill in this country.
“When there is a large oil spill, there is usually conflict between the community and the company involved.
“In most cases, it is sabotage and in such cases, we require the military to come in at certain point.’’
He said that most of the deaths in the Niger Delta had positive correlations with oil spillage.
He explained that people were at the risk of being affected by eating food that come from such polluted environment.
He also said the life span of most Nigerians was shortening due to the effect oil spill on the ecosystem.
“The attitudes of our oil explorers, especially when spills occur, it does not bother them that over a million of chemicals are spilled into the sea, which is very dangerous to health.
“The oil spill contaminate our aquatic resources and it affects the entire food chain as long as we survive on the food chain.’’
Responding, Jibril said the Navy was familiar with the operation of the agency, adding that it would support NOSDRA to stop oil spill in the country.
He said the force was also aware of the effects of oil spill to aquatic life and the environment.
The Navy Chief also commended the agency’s cooperation with the military, saying “you have reduced spillage and its attendant effects in the country within this few days.
“We are ready to contribute to stop oil spillage and we are ready to give to you information about spillage whenever they occur.
“Our new boats that we are importing from China have facilities to contain oil spillage.’’
He however, said the delay in the release of boats to the agency was to control their misuse and advised the agency’s management to henceforth, put in its administrative request at their time of need.
He gave an assurance that the Navy would reduce administrative bottlenecks to enable the agency to access the facility during emergencies.
Jibril, however, sought the support of NOSDRA in the provision of infrastructure to the force, saying, “we need to support one another to achieve our goals.
“We have the human capital base to do what we are trained to do; what we need more is the infrastructure and we call on other organisations to support us too.’’
N300m Debt Worries C’River Water Board
Mr James Buchan, the
General Manager (Operations) of Cross River State Water Board, said more than N300 million owed it by various consumers in the state posed a challenge to its operations.
Buchan said this in an interview with the newsmen in Calabar last week, saying that the board was worried about the debt.
He said the board spent an average of N25 million monthly on diesel and chemicals to sustain water supply, urging the consumers who owed to settle their bills.
The general manager said that the state government paid its water bills regularly, urging the consumer’s to emulate the government by paying their bills to avoid disconnection.
Buchan further advised the consumers to always make genuine complaints about the services of the board to guarantee uninterrupted clean water supply.
The manager also urged consumers to shun illegal connection and to report to the board, those, including its staff members, who engaged in fraudulent activities.
“We want to supply to the public well treated water, we want to provide 24 hours service to the people, but we can only do this with the help of the people,’’ he said.
Buchan promised that Geographic Information System had been put in place to streamline the operations of the board and improve services.
He said the board was also worried over the damage of its pipelines worth more than N300 million by road construction companies in the state.
Buchan said the board had, however, drawn the attention of the officials of the concerned construction companies to the development.
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