The media, particularly, the electronic media last week was abuzz with news of complaints of flooding by some residents of Port Harcourt and its environs over last Sunday’s heavy rainfall.
Information available to The Tide revealed that complaints were coming from areas that experienced severe flooding last year.
These areas include Eneka, Elekahia, parts of D-line and Eliozu. The rest are Mile I Market, Rukpakulus, Eliozu, and Igboh Etche, amongst others.
However, as the rainy season approaches, residents of these areas and other parts of Port Harcourt are already jittery over the imminent severe flooding that maybe experienced in the city this year.
A cross section of respondents who expressed their concern in an interview with The Tide, contended that if urgent attention is not given to the issue, the state may experience severe flooding this year.
They however commended the Rivers State Government for the several flood control measures taken so far, since last year, including the dredging of major water channels. They stressed the need for the government to work with community leaders to stop people from building on water right of ways.
The Chairman, Health Safety and Environment (HSE), Chinwo Town, Port Harcourt City Local Government Council, Prince William Chinwo stressed the need for the government to widen drainages located in high density areas of the city to ensure easy flow of water.
Chinwo also stressed the need for wider drainages for new road networks while government should continue with its on-going desilting programme of major creeks and canals across the city.
He also called for sanctions against those dumping refuse into drainages and creeks, stressing that until people are arrested and punished, the situation will not stop.
Also speaking, Mr. Felix Godwin, a trader at the Mile I Market, stressed the need for more sensitisation programmes to create awareness on the dangers of dumping refuse into drainages as well as building on water right of ways.
Godwin also stressed the need for the government to check the incessant flow of water from Sangana Street and Dline to the Mile I market.
“If the government can control the flooding on the major roads and streets, this place will be okay for us, because the water always flows from Sangana and Dline side to the market,” he said.
Also speaking, a resident of D-line, Mr. Chukwudi Kelvin said that residents of D-line especially Sangana Street should be blamed for the incessant flooding of the area.
“I think, the government doesn’t have much to do, because most of the problem, is being caused by the people.
“You know that some people use to throw their refuse into the gutters especially whenever it rains. If the government can set up an agency to watch and punish people, the situation will stop,” he said.
Mr. Kelvin who volunteered to assist the government with information on those dumping refuse into the drainage, said that the situation must be checked before the incident of last year repeats itself.
He complained that last year, he lost all his belongings to flooding and prays the incident does not repeat this year.
“Last year, when the flooding came, I lost everything. I also left my house because the water level was almost at my chest.” “If not that I have renewed my rent for this year, I would have packed out of this place,” he said.
Meanwhile, Environmentalists have blamed the incessant flooding in the city on the poor environmental attitude of the people.
An Environmentalist, Mr. Thomas Ikarabu told The Tide in an interview that despite the effort of the State Government to ensure the free flow of water from the city to the rivers, most people are busy erecting structures on water right of ways.
Mr. Ikarabu also condemned the indiscriminate dumping of wastes into the Ntawogba and other creeks in the city and called for severe sanctions.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Government has promised to step up its sensitisation campaign against the indiscriminate dumping of refuse into drainages and canals.
The commissioner for Environment, Professor Roseline Konya, said in a telephone interview with The Tide that effort would be made to stop people from indiscriminately dumping refuse into drainages. Professor Konya said that people must support the government to check flooding this year in the city by avoiding habits that lead to flooding.
It would be noted that the present administration under Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has shown much concern towards checking flooding in the city of Port Harcourt and environs.
The ongoing dredging of the Ntawogba creek is one of the several measures taken by the government to check flooding in the city.
However, as the rainy season approaches, it behoves on the people to assist the government control flooding in the city by checking the dumping of wastes into drainages.
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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