Following the devastating effect of flood in his domain, the traditional head of Ogbaland, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, HRH Bright Abali, has urged the government to consider measures that will protect lives and property of his subjects.
There have been reports that the Orashi river is overflowing its banks, which has severely affected some communities like Ndoni-Ase Azaga axis, Omoku, Kreigene-Ohali Usomini axis, Idu Obosiukwu-Idu Osobile axis in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA. Other places badly affected by the flood in the region include Elekuma-Ukodu town, Mbiama axis in Ahoada West LGA.
It is believed that in a few days, Idu Osobile will be severely hit, as over 50 homes risk being sacked. Also, reports by C’Ken Hydrosophy reveals that “part of Oboburu community will also be affected. Ndoni, Omoku, Kreigeni/Ohali coastal basins dwellers are advised to relocate at the slightest rainfall this week. Parts of Egiland is also going to drench later this week. The predicted regions include Obigbor, Ohali elu, Obagi, while Ogbogu is most likely to receive a full dose of the flood next week should it rain heavily this week.
“Residents along those axis are therefore, expected to make plans for interim shelter upland on time and also, keep close watch over minors and loved ones, restricting movement to both shallow and deep water bodies to avoid drowning. A 50-year old man has already fallen victim at Obigbor.”
Speaking with TNN in an exclusive interview, Abali said “as I speak to you now, a place we used to measure flood, the Ebocha Bridge by today will be submerged and that place, the road will cut off, the water level has risen too high. If it cuts off that bridge by today as it’s rising, the meaning is that it has cut off parts of the local government from free movement.
“Communities in Ndoni area are passing through hell, the water in Omoku area, the plantation side of Omoku has been submerged, everywhere is flooded, so by one-week time it will encroach into the town, that is how we use to access it.”
Suggesting a way out of the helpless situation, the Royal Highness said, “every time, you know it’s a natural disaster, every time the government will say they will do something, the only thing there is that the yearning of our people have been that they should come and dredge the Orashi river, if they dredge it, take for instance that one million tons of water stay there, and it is dredged to have one point five million space, you will find out that the flood comes down if it raises to one point five million tons of water, are you getting me? I’m just making an instance, then it will now contain in the river without flowing the banks or the city, flowing into the city, that is the thing.
“So, we need dredging, the water all sand that the raining season have gathered, floods through the river to block the river, a river space of let’s say the earth level in the sea is about 30 feet, you can just walk through it because it has been filled by sand and degrease from the street of the city, so if it is dredged they will recover the original depth and the ocean current can move water to different areas.”
Also, the Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre YEAC-Nigeria, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, in an interview with TNN said “the flooding in parts of Rivers State is something that is very, very worrisome because it’s going to affect residents of the affected areas especially in the Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA of Rivers State. Ahoada West, Ahoada East and even in some other parts of the state. This has been a kind of recurring decimal, almost every year, despite the fact that the Nigeria metrological agency and other agencies in government will warn that these flooding are coming.
“Government has so far failed to take steps to address the issue that they need to prepare the people, to sensitize the people, try to prepare them for a better place they can stay while we have this flooding coming. This is a natural disaster that is likened to the one that is ravaging parts of United State, especially in Florida where the horican ayan has affected the people, but what is important is how government responds to predictions that this is going to happen, but now you have these things happening; the flooding coming, we remember that even in 2016, 2012, 2017 and all the flooding we have had, the people are still suffering the impact till today, and I am surprised that now flooding is coming again in 2022 and government has not taken step to see what they can do to address this issue.”
He further called on the government to “try as much as they can to sensitize the people on the flooding that is coming, prepare the people to be able to respond to the flooding and the Rivers State government should go ahead to see how they can set up the Rivers State emergency management agency, an agency that will be able to manage some of these issues, get relief materials to the community people and prepare them for the flooding in such a way that the impact can be averted and should be too devastating on the people.”