The Ijaw people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has urged the federal government to take proactive measures in the prevention and protection of the annual flood incident in the region. ayokinews.com reports
This was made known by the National President of the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, Comrade Austin Ozobo, while speaking to newsmen in Warri on Tuesday.
Ozobo lamented the annual flood record in the Ijaw region and that the Nigerian Federal Government should take the necessary steps in preventing the constant flood occurrence so as to save lives and properties.
“We expected government in every tier to make preparations towards evacuating residents in the flood-prone riverine communities. But despite the warning, no effort has been put in place. It is actually sad.
“As residents of riverine communities, we have seen the rising flood level in our communities, but how can our people be evacuated when their means of survival lies in the village? They can only feed when they go to farm, fish, or do some manual jobs.
“If you say they should be evacuated, where are they evacuating to? How can villagers who are low-income earners afford money to go and pay for costly urban houses just to evacuate their flood-prone communities?
“Even if some persons could afford to do that, it won’t be more than five per cent of the villagers.
“But what will now happen to the remaining 95 per cent of villagers who could not afford to pay for houses in the urban cities?
“This is the reason why residents of flood-prone rural communities are always trapped and victimised every year.
“The government should be proactive and not only wait for an emergency to act. Planning for flood communities will go a long way in addressing flood problems in Delta State and Nigeria.
“Some communities just need piling/land exclamation, sand fielding and good drainage systems.
“But over time, no government has ever deemed it fit to make an appraisal of what actually should be done to end or reduce excessive flooding in the rural and riverine communities.
“Every year the people count losses without being compensated. Government too will end up spending much on palliatives without any permanent remedy. The way to solve the problem of annual flooding is to first take data about the areas, communities and level of the flooding, which will inform you of what step to take to address it.
“It is annoying that the federal and state governments in Niger Delta have no plan to address the current ragging flood threat. No preparatory moves for IDP camps, no food bank has been put in place, no logistics arrangements for transportation of affected persons, no medical, drinkable water, clothing for children and proper care for aged and pregnant women are in place. It is unfortunate and disappointing,” he said.