✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live
SPONSOR AD

Enyi Agu River flood resurgence threatens lives in Awka

Residents of Awka have lamented over the poor planning of the state capital by the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA). The authority is vested…

Residents of Awka have lamented over the poor planning of the state capital by the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA). The authority is vested with the power to design a befitting template for the state capital and also enforce the development control. Daily Trust Saturday, however, reports that lives and property are being threatened by flood.

The lamentations are not just on the poor planning but on the blocking of waterways and drainage systems in the state.

Due to the blockages of waterways and channels, Enyi Agu River flood disaster that nearly consumed the state capital during Peter Obi’s administration as governor has resurfaced, and is creating more hardship.

The poor planning of the state capital has caused untold hardship for the people of Awka community, as many roads and buildings are facing the risk of being washed away or submerged in the flood.

A visit to many places in Awka, particularly Onwurah Street, revealed that people built freely on drainages and waterways, thereby closing channels for water to flow.

Residents lamented that people closed rivers, drainages and channels to erect structures, while the authority vested with the powers to regulate the planning of the town did not care about the erection of illegal buildings and blocking of free flow of water.

A close look at Onwurah Street in Awka South Local Government Council reveals a clear manifestation of negligence and lack of due diligence in the enforcement of better Anambra State capital.

The flooding of the Enyi-Agu River which created problems during the time of Peter Obi as governor, resulting in blockage of water channels has resurfaced due to blockage of drainages which hinder free flow of the river.

Another flooded compound

 

Over 30 buildings with the occupants within the area are faced with the possibility of being submerged by the end of this year’s rainy season. Landlords carelessly erected buildings and fences on the waterways and the area is facing serious threat.

Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday, a medical doctor at Christ the King Hospital in Onwurah Street, Awka, Dr Onyemmadu Chukwunekwu Peter, said that street is seriously endangered and may be submerged in the flood.

According to him, the hospital premises is gradually being flooded, as well as other buildings in the area, and this is due to poor drainage system and building houses in the wrong places.

“The flooding in the area is affecting our hospital, patients, nurses and medical wards. Our staff have relocated from here to somewhere else because of the challenges of flood. We are afraid that if something is not done urgently, we may be forced to relocate from this place. If you go beyond this fence towards Anambra State stadium, you will find out that the drainage system is very poor,” he said.

“The government should act fast because the flood is threatening the buildings and our lives. The poor drainage system is risk factor for malaria and diarrhea,” he said.

According to him, the poor planning of the town was responsible for the flooding in the area.

“We are asking government to come up with special action plans to open up this place blocked by greedy landlords and individuals. We are looking up to government to free this place by demolishing all buildings and fences built on canals and waterways. Let government open up the space so that when it rains, we will not wear boots again” he said.

A landlord in the area, Mr Chukwudi Nweze, said they are disturbed by the flooding ravaging the area. According to him, it is like hell for residents any time it rains.

“The gutters are very small to carry the volume of water coming to this area. They have used building to block all the channels and waterways. When it rains, you cannot pass to your house because of the flooding,” he stated.

He also appealed to the state government to help them open the channels and blocked water ways to save their buildings which are on the verge of collapse and being submerged.

“Government should open up this area even if it means pulling down houses and fences to pave way for free flow of water.

Any building that is situated on the waterway and drainage should be pulled down. If my own building is found to be wrongly built, let it be pulled down, we are suffering here,” he said.

Also speaking, an environmental activist, Comrade Osita Obi, blamed the government who failed to plan the Awka City well.

According to him, the people who are supposed to plan the capital city did not do their jobs well and they are the cause of the problem.

He said that government officials allow people to indiscriminately build houses on water ways and drainages.

According to him, the problem is purely on the government’s failure to do its job.

“Even here, they built on the Enyi Agu River and the water must find it way and in finding its ways, water would get into wrong places and cause destruction,” he stated.

He stated that government must do anything possible to secure the lives of people and their buildings.

“The accumulation of water here, especially around the state mini stadium, has formed a mini lake. Government should ensure that this danger is averted. They should bring all the buildings standing on waterways down and also bring those officials who approved them to book. They must be a way of doing things in the state and government cannot just allow people to do things with impunity,” he said.

He said that if there is need for demolition, the government should not hesitate to do that, noting that government should also punish the offenders.

Another landlord, Okechukwu Paul, said they are worried over the condition of the street, urging the state government to urgently intervene to save them.

“This place has always been problematic to us. During Peter Obi’s time, we had the same problem and his intervention saved us but they have distorted it and built houses on top of all the waterways Obi created. I am from Awka here, if not for the intervention of Obi, we would have packed out of this place,” he stated.

He called on government to create big gutters and pull down any structure standing on waterways, noting that the Enyi Agu River has been blocked by the landlords building on the area.

According to him, if government did not urgently do something, most buildings will be washed away or submerged in the flood.

He said that the street was supposed to join the expressway but has been closed by buildings.

He regretted that the state has not been painstaking in the planning and enforcement of development control in the state, a situation he described as sad.

He called on Governor Soludo to drastically take action to clear up the road for easy passage.

Paul also called on the governor to restore the original master plan of Awka, especially Onwurah Street and the surroundings.

According to him, people are running away from their homes because of the problem of flooding caused by government’s failure to do the right thing.

“We now have ponds in the streets because of landlords doing the wrong things. Government should act fast and save us from this situation,” he said.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) Mr Osita Onuko assured that the government would do the needful to save the situation.

“Our job is to make sure that development control of Anambra is enforced. Onwurah Street has been a peculiar case because a lot of water is channelled to the place from the inner city. Again, people go there to dump refuse on waterways, thereby blocking the water flow and the resultant effect is what we are seeing there,” he stated.

He reassured that the government would do everything possible to reclaim all blocked areas.

According to him, any person that builds on the drainage will have his house pulled down.

Onuko said they will return sanity by the enforcement of building plans in the state and anybody who violates it would be sanctioned.

“We will pull down all structures on the water ways and drainages. We cannot allow the system of impunity to continue because of few selfish individuals. Those that built on the drainage and water ways just made wrong investment as the government will demolish their structures,” he said.

 

Join Daily Trust WhatsApp Community For Quick Access To News and Happenings Around You.

UPDATE: Nigerians in Nigeria and those in diaspora can now be paid in US Dollars. Premium domains can earn you as much as $17,000 (₦27 million).


Click here to start earning.