Expectedly, the rains are here again. Bayelsa being at the epicentre of the Niger Delta, suffers flooding a great deal. Ordinary rain waters render many residents homeless in Bayelsa. This is most common in Yenagoa, the state capital and it occurs year in, year out. The state government, from all indications, looks helpless as nothing tangible is being done to curb the ugly situation experienced by the residents.
Apart from the perennial rain fall that troubles residents of Yenagoa and other parts of the state on regular basis, there is also the worrisome annual natural flood that flows from the northern part of the country through the River Niger into tributaries of the Delta and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The most recent destructive floods that hit Bayelsa and other neighbouring states occurred in 2012 and 2018.
The 2018 flood was a major disaster that left bitter experiences. Many of the flood victims are still counting their losses. In the hinterlands, those living in mud house as well as makeshift buildings are without homes at the moment because the ravaging flood washed away their houses. Lives and property worth huge sums of money were lost.
Farmlands were not spared. They were all washed away, resulting in the current food shortage being experienced in most parts of the state.
Environmental experts have attributed the menace to poor implementation of the Yenagoa city master plan by successive governments. The construction of buildings on supposed water passages as well as reckless blockage of drains, according to experts, are largely responsible for the avoidable flooding.
Now that the rains are here again, the state government should rise up to its responsibilities of implementing the Yenagoa master plan to the latter. If there are buildings that are obstructing the free flow of water, such buildings should be brought down irrespective of who owns them. The collective well- being of Bayelsans cannot be sacrificed on the alter of the selfish interest of a few.
While finding a long term solution to the problems of flooding in the state capital and other parts of the state, the state government should, as a palliative measure, open up the hitherto blocked canals within and around the state capital. This will, in no small measure, reduce the embarrassing overflow of water into people's residents whenever there is heavy downpour in most parts of Yenagoa.
Residents on their part should refrain from blocking or throwing none disposable wastes into the drains. Deliberately blocking water channels which results in the flooding of our environment is tantamount to shooting oneself on the foot. This is so because it is the residents themselves that will be on the receiving end of the consequences that may arise as a result of reckless blockade of natural water passages.
The federal government should compel the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta especially Bayelsa state to embark on shore protection projects across flood prone oil and gas bearing communities. It has been established through independent investigations that the few communities that have been shore protected do not suffer flood disaster anymore.
The federal government and the multinationals can adopt the mechanisms and methodologies applied by the Scandinavian countries who, despite having similar terrain with the Niger Delta, are living happily without the problems associated with perennial flooding.