As the rainy season sets in, anxiety is mounting among residents of Port Harcourt city and its environs over the possible increase in flooding in the city, this year.
The Tide observed that during last week Wednesday’s heavy down pour, many parts of the city were flooded.
Among the heavily flooded areas were the MTN junction along the PH Aba Express road, Artillery Junction also along Port Harcourt Aba Express road and Elekahia, and Rumukalagbor.
Also affected by the flood during the rainfall were the popular Mile I Market to Emenike and Elechi Road junctions by the Mile Three market all along the Ikwerre Road.
At the Elekahia, Rumukalagbor villages, The Tide observed that many residents were displaced.
Residential buildings and shops were flooded and for shop owners, it was a sad day as most of their wares were destroyed by the flood waters The Tide also observed that a private school located along the Hill Top Drive Elekahia was shut down and pupils evacuated that morning as a result of the incidents.
A cross section of residents who spoke to The Tide on the situation blamed the flooding on the over flow of the two major adjoining streams which cut across the two communities.
They said that the streams known in the local language as Mini Jiriji and Mini Okoro had been sources of concern to the communities as they normally overflow their banks during heavy rainfall.
They said that until the streams were dredged to ensure the free flow of waters, the situation will get worst.
A shop owner, Mr Innocent Uwuma told The Tide that his shop was flooded early that morning and most of his wares had been destroyed.
Mr Uwuama said that the government must find solution to the problem of flooding in Elekahia and Rumukalagbor stressing that the only way to do this is to dredge the two streams.
“Let the government clean the streams, so that the water can flow into the bigger Rivers”.
Another trader, Kingsley Anosike who also claimed to have lost all his wares, further opined that the solution to the flooding in the areas lies in the dredging of the streams.
Mr Anosike recalled that last year, many traders in the area also lost their wares to the flood waters.
“Last year, we experienced the same thing we are appealing to the government to dredge the streams and make them deeper.
He said that if noting was done about the situation, that axis of Port Harcourt will be cut off from the rest of the city by flood.
Last year, we managed to survive the situation but this year I don’t know what is going to happen as subsequent rains seems to get heavier. Another resident, Mrs Ogechi Clement said that she had already removed all her belonging from her house.
She said that she suffered similar thing last year and called for assistance from the public.
The Tide observed that the situation caused gridlock along the Elekahia Rumukalagbor road as vehicles found it difficult to pass through the area.
Similar situation was also observed at the MTN junction, Aba road and the Mile I Market along Ikwerre Road.
At the market, traders were seen transferring food items to the median.
An environmentalist, Mr Steve Obodoekwe, said the situation was a sign that residents of Port Harcourt city and environs will experience more flooding as this year’s rains will be very heavy.
Mr Obodoekwe told The Tide that, the solution lies on regular desilting of the drains.
He called on the Ministry of Environment and the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) to come up with modalities of ensuring that streams and rivers such as: the Interwoba creek, Mini Jiriji and Mini Okoro are regularly desilted to ensure their free flow.
He also suggested that residents who are in the habit of dumping refuse into these channels should desist from such act or face the full wrath of the law.
Also speaking on the issue, a Public Affairs analyst, Rev (Dr) Sokari Soberekon said that government must look for ways of channeling waters from the Mile I axis of Port Harcourt through Abonnema Wharf to the rivers there.
He said that the situation at Mile 1 Market portended great danger to the health of the society as most people buy most of their food stuff from Mile 1 market. All in all, it is flood everywhere and the government must find solution to it.
We’re Hopeful Of Passage Of Water Resources Bill -Minister
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has expressed hope over the passage of the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly.
Adamu expressed the optimism while answering questions on the sidelines of a two-day training for Water Resources Correspondents, Editors, and News Analysts in the Nigerian Water Sector’ with theme, ‘Reporting Water in its Perspective’.
The Tide source reports that the training is to build capacity of reporters on water resources sector by having deep knowledge of terminologies and issues in the water sector.
The Tide also recalls that the Bill, which was introduced in the 8th Assembly, caused outrage as some Nigerians interpreted the law as a power grab by the federal Government.
“It is part of our roadmap as far as I am concerned. We will continue to engage with the National Assembly, now that they have come back from recess, we hope to engage.
“At the same time, we are talking to all other antagonists to allay the fears to accommodate whatever apprehension. We are very confident that we’ll get that bill passed,” the minister said.
He further stated that it was wrong for a section of Nigerians to completely criticize and condemn the whole Bill instead of pointing out areas that needs to be reconsidered.
“It doesn’t make sense if you have problem with the Bill; identify the key issue or problem if there is need for amendment instead to completely condemn just because of one or two items you are not satisfied with.
“In the National Assembly, you have public hearing, and we will still go back,” the minister said.
Community Residents Flay Dumping Of Sachets, Bottles In Drainages
Some residents of Eneka Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have condemned the indiscriminate dumping of water sachets and bottles in drainages and along the road in the community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in the community, they said the situation is not only an eyesore but responsible for incessant flooding being witnessed in the community.
Mr Chibuike Adim, indigene of Rumuoji Eneka condemned the practice, adding that it is this practice that blocked the gutters and caused flashed flooding in some areas in the community.
Adim called on the state government to save the community from the practice by constituting the tax force to check this habit.
He also said those who engaged in this practice are not only uneducated but also foolish, stressing that such people must be dealt with according to the law.
Also speaking, Miss Patience Odum also condemned the practice but added that there is no designated refuse dump site in the community.
Odum also urged for the provision of refuse receptacle in the area while the Rivers State Waste Management agency (RIWAMA) should also monitor the activities of the people.
Also speaking, Miss Alice Nsikak, a student of Rivers State University said the practice has become a big problem to the community as the entire drainages are blocked.
She stressed the need for sensitisation of the residence against the practice.
Nsikak also called on government to improve the method of refuse collection by providing waste bin to homes on the streets.
According to her, “people could be asked to pay little amount of money every month”, adding that the proposal will check the menace as well as check flash flooding in the community.
Also speaking with The Tide, Mr Ndubuise Ogom confirmed that dumping of plastic materials, refuge and pure water sachets in the drains is a very common practice in Eneka and also felt very bad about this practice.
This practice, added, must be stopped by government by promulgating laws to punish offenders. This if done, will prevent people taking part in such practice. He suggested, a fine of N1000 be slammad on those dumping refuge and plastic containers in the gutter.
By: Oribim Nyanaa Ibama, Elendu Obochi Esther & Inimgba Favour Victor
UNESCO Laments Impending Collapse Of Biodiversity …Says Human Survival At Risk
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has raised alarm at the unprecedented speed which biodiversity is collapsing globally.
The Director-General of UNESCO Ms Audrey Azoulay, expressed this concern at the UNESCO 33rd session of the the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) Programme in Abuja.
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain
The director-general said that with the impending collapse, not only was human survival at risk, but also the beauty and the diversity of the world.
She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.
“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering and so valuable.
“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.
“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.
According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.
“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.
“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.
UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.
With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
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