In the wake of recent reported cases of flooding in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and other parts of the State, the Global Association of Concerned Imo Youths has called on the citizens to be patient as the government makes efforts to address the issue.
The group identified flooding as a global menace which it attributed to climate change and unfriendly environmental practices such as blocking of the drainage, building on waterways and destruction of flood channels.
In a statement signed by its convener, Collins Ughalaa, the group said that the state government had commenced flood control projects in the capital.
It expressed optimism that upon the completion of the projects and other ongoing construction works, flooding would be a thing of the past in the city.
It called for more responsibility on the side of the citizens in complementing government’s efforts, and not to see flooding in the state as a political issue.
The statement partly read: “This year alone, flooding is reported in the US, India, Spain, Australia, UK, Germany, Brazil, Thailand, France, South Africa, Kenya, Italy, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, etal.
“On Thursday, September 2, the AFP reported that at least seven people died in New York alone after the city was flooded, as Storm Ida wreaked havoc, forcing flight cancellations and state of emergency declarations. The report added that Ida slammed into Louisiana, causing severe flooding and tornadoes, causing destruction in the area. Brooklyn, Queens City, Philadelphia were also badly hit.
“Across Nigeria, the challenge of flooding is replete. In Niger, Jigawa, Bauchi, Adamawa, Lagos, Osun, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, etcetera, there are sad tales of flooding. Imo State is not left out in the list. The problem became worse in Imo following the series of demolitions, road expansion works and technical errors/or incompetence on the part of the Government from 2011 to 2019, leading to destruction of flood control mechanisms across the State Capital.
“We acknowledge the fact that Government is a continuum. The State Government led by Governor Hope Uzodimma acknowledges this fact as well. This can be seen by the novel approach the Government is adopting to holistically tackle the challenge. The impressive flood control works going on in Owerri, especially the novel Baloon Technology with four collection centres at Dick-Tiger, MCC/Chukwuma Nwaoha, Trans-Egbu and Mbaise Road Park, is commendable.
“The recent flooding witnessed in some parts of Owerri was therefore as a result of ongoing construction works, which the Government is addressing urgently. Government has also commenced another round of de-silting the drainage and would soon address the menace of flooding in Akwakuma and other areas.
As Imo people, we need not see the challenge of flooding as a political problem. It is a natural disaster that spares no nation, state or political party. Flooding is no respecter of developed nations, it is no respecter of underdeveloped nations either.
“The challenge of flooding will not go away with a wave of the hand. Government will do a lot to address it. Understanding this will not only help us plan better, it will as well equip us to respond better in such times.
“No Governor is God. No Governor possesses the magic wand. Things work with time, and not even the best medical doctor would wave a magic wand and a sick patient gets up.
“We can be patient with the Government, because construction work takes time. As it is, the Government is adequately addressing the problem. With the paucity of funds, Government is juggling a lot of competing responsibilities to address the challenge, because flooding could be life threatening. That is why the Government has prioritised it.
“We are Imo people and we love our State. We should not allow bitter politicians drive us crazy with false claims and false alarms. Government is working. And the flooding we see today in some parts of Owerri, we shall see them no more.”