Flooding is a natural phenomenon. In planning parlance, there’s a saying that you can never stop urban flooding, the only thing you can do is to mitigate the effect, and how do you do that? Before the commencement of each rainy season we have to ensure that our infrastructure is made in such a way as to be able to contain whatever challenge that may come.
For example, drainages: We have them in the urban centres and they are meant to drain excess water that would ordinarily percolate and run off. So, before the commencement of each rainy season we should make sure that we de-silt all our sewage systems within the city. This is because during the rainy season the rains can come with debris and cause blockage of sewers.
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Secondly, we should ensure that we do not carry out development in areas that are flood prone. Unfortunately, the challenge we face in Abuja is that we have so many people who do not respect rules and regulations. Before you put up any development you have to be given allocation and if per chance you are given allocation that is not conducive for your choice we can regulate it but majority of these developments we see in flood prone areas are illegal.
Just last week, the FCT Administration removed many structures including some within a notorious housing estate around Lugbe Phase 5. Despite meeting with them we still went ahead to remove about 30 structures in the area, and this is going to be continuous.
People are not patient, they rush to develop before planning is concluded. There is also connivance with, sometimes, officials or local chiefs. The FCT Administration will not take it kindly with anyone found guilty.
I wish to therefore call on residents to always obey rules and regulations. You should not develop without allocation or approved building plan, and for off-takers that subscribe to home ownership from private housing developers, they must do their due diligence and make sure that wherever they want to buy houses the developer has valid allocation and a valid, approved building plan, that way it is safe, otherwise it would be a case of penny wise, pound foolish.
Tpl. Umar Shuaibu, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC)