Table water producers in Rivers State have lamented the imposition of special levy by the the Bayelsa State Government on water coming into the state from Rivers State.
Chairman of the Association of Table Waters Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP), Rivers State, Mr. Eyberi Odiri Mackson who said this in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt claimed that the Bayelsa State Government has imposed a levy of N200 per bag of water coming into the state from Rivers State.
He also claimed that members can nolonger assess Okarki, a community in Ahoada West Local Government Area to supply water to them.
“We can nolonger access Okarki and other communities within the area to supply water to them, while water from Bayelsa State is now flooding Omoku Mbiama and Ahoada”.
He said that the association has already petitioned the Bayelsa State Government and the State House of Assembly on the issue, while the Rivers State Government has also been notified on the issue.
He said that time has come for the Rivers State Government to look into the matter with a view to ensuring that the association gets water across to Okarki and other communities in Ahoada West Local Government Area which are part of Rivers State.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mackson has alleged that the involvement of foreigners in the waters sector of the country is capable of denying millions of employment opportunities in the sector.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, he also said the situation has put the lives of Nigerian at risk.
He said the situation has underscored the need for government to implement the local content policy in the water sector.
The ATWAP chairman said that Nigerians have the capacity to produce water for the country’s teeming population.
He also said that the association has organized series of trainings for its members with a view to improving their capacities.
ATWAP he said is also worried over the proliferation of illegal water factories across the state, stressing that they are already collaborating with the security agencies to shut down these illegal factories.
Rivers Community Hails SEEFOR For Provision Of Toilet Facility
Residents of Somiari Ama community in Rivers State have commended the World Bank for the construction of a model toilet facility for the community.
A cross section of residents of the community told newsmen during a media tour organised by the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project that the existing facility in the community which is a pier latrine is no longer accessible by old women.
They said that the situation has increased the rate of open defecation in the area.
The toilet facility which was built by the Somiar-Tere Ama Unity Cooperative under FADAMA III of subcomponent of the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project has a female section with three rooms and a male section with two rooms.
FADAMA III SEEFOR focal person, Richard Fubara during an inspection of the facility that the project will end said the culture of open defecation in the community.
Fubara said when commissioned, residents of the community will only be charged twenty naira for the maintenance of the facility.
He described the facility as a big relief to the people of the area as the already existing pier latrine facility is no longer accessible to the people.
According to him, the development was in line with Federal Government policy of ending open defecation in Nigeria before 2025.
Meanwhile the Ewika community in Eleme Local Government Area has thanked the World Bank for the provision of potable water to the community.
Paramount ruler of Ewika community, Chief Jacob Mkpo, said the project has saved the community from the agony of searching for potable drinking water, adding that for 70 years, Ewika community was without potable drinking water.
Chief Mkpo said the community will ensure the maintenance of the facility.
NIHSA Lists Gains Of Annual Flooding Outlook Reports
The Director General of NIHSA, Mr Clemet Nze, says the annual flooding outlook reports and effective sensitisation campaigns by the agency have saved the country from huge revenue losses that would have resulted from flooding.
He said that the AFO was a means of producing early flood warning information for stakeholders to use and mitigate flood related disasters.
“Flood forecasting and flood early warning is the agency`s mandate.’’
He said that the AFO report showed that 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) witnessed different levels of flooding in 2019.
He added that out of the 774 local government areas in the country, 74 were predicted to be highly probable.
“While 279 local government areas were probable areas of flood, 421 were predicted to be less probable.’’
Nze said that the steady rise in river level caused flooding in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states.
“States affected by various degrees of flooding in 2019 were Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kwara,Adamawa, Benue, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe, Kogi and Nasarawa.
“Others are Anambra, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Abia, Cross River, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Ekiti and Oyo, including FCT.
“More than 100 local government areas within the states listed below are counting their losses.’’
Nze said that relevant stakeholders, especially individuals and state governments failed to heed the warning issued before the onset of flooding season across the country in 2019.
He said that the agency was concerned about the non-adherence by Nigerians to flood predictions for 2019.
“Thereby, resulting in avoidable flooding incidents, leading to loss of lives, property, disruption of economic activities and loss of several hectares of agricultural lands.’’
He said that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), also predicted late onset of rainy season in the country in 2019 and early cessation.
“Meaning that rainfall started very late and ended early in some states and by Sept. 26 2019, rainfall ceased in Katsina, Sokoto and moved down to the south.
“But in the southern parts of Nigeria, rainfall continued till November and even December in places like Bayelsa, Rivers, even Delta experienced rainfall up to late November.’’
He said that the agency had been monitoring the flooding taking place across the country with the attendant loss of lives and property.
Nze said that River Benue increased steadily due to local rainfall with attendant heavy inflows from the tributaries of the river.
According to him, river flooding as well as coastal flooding have come to stay, as floods from the upper catchment of the Niger basin is mandatory.
He warned government at all levels, stakeholders as well as general public to adhere to warning issued by the agency before the onset of flooding season in 2020.
He said that adherence would help to prevent flooding across the country.
Mr Moses Umekwe, an environment expert, said that blockage of drains, rainstorms and poor urban planning, resulting in erection of structures within floodplains and waterways were the causes of more flooding in coastal areas.
Umekwe urged Nigerians to endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drains, culverts and other waterways to avoid unnecessary flooding in 2020.
He also advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of planting trees to protect the environment and check flooding.
Mr Williams Osaze, the President, Society for the Promotion of Peoples Right, an NGO, also urged the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate for effective sensitisation on ways to prevent flooding in the country.
Osaze also an environmentalist said that the collaboration would increase and improve effective sensitisation, especially in various flood prone communities.
He also advised the Federal Government to enforce building codes and provide effective flood forecasting warning systems to mitigate flood risk across the country.
He said that building codes would contribute significantly to mitigating flooding, “if Nigerians can as well obey the codes.
“It is not only to provide building codes or building plan, but it is also important to obey the codes.’’
Osaze appealed to Nigerians to avoid actions that could impede free and easy flow of water through its natural courses to avert devastating flood disasters.
FG Promises To Invest In Erosion Control Projects
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured of Federal Government’s commitment to invest in erosion control projects in Anambra State.
The president stated this, yesterday, during the inauguration and handover of the 3.30kilometre and 10metre wide double coated asphaltic pavement drains erosion project at Umunze, Orumba South LGA.
The president said the project would check flooding and gully erosion menace in the community and environs.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of State for Environment, Ms Sharon Ikeazor, said nothing depicted the Federal Government’s commitment to curbing erosion menace in Anambra than getting the state among beneficiaries of ecological intervention projects since the first quarter 2018.
President Buhari said the investments would help reduce dangers to lives and properties associated with erosion and persistent flooding in the community.
He commended the people of Umunze for their cooperation and provision of rancour-free environment during the project execution and implored them to cherish the project by preventing indiscriminate dumping of refuse into drainage channels.
A representative of the Federal Ministrty of Environment, Mr. Felix Okeke, tasked the community to ensure resources committed to the completion of the project is not wasted.
Governor Willie Obiano, represented by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, said the state has intensified measures toward erosion control and sought for continuous support from the Federal Government and World Bank to curb erosion in the state.
President-General, Umunze community, Mr. John Akanyeonu, thanked President Buhari saying the completion of the project would arrest the flooding and erosion menace in the community.
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