As residents of Benin City brace themselves for the misery after Friday morning rainfall which rendered many homeless and submerged buildings in water, Edo State Government has warned residents, especially those living in flood-prone areas, to desist from dumping refuse in water ways.
The advice was contained in a statement, Special Adviser to the State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie.
He stated that the indiscriminate dumping of dirt and refuse into gutters and other water channels can cause blockage, leading to avoidable flooding.
Flood victims watched helplessly as their livelihoods sink under the water while others made last-ditch attempts to salvage their prized possessions from the flood, have pathetic stories to tell.
From Erediauwa area in Upper Sokponba road, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area to Aruosa Street, and Boundary road in Oredo Local Government Area in Benin City as well as the Bendel Insurance complex transversing through Dumez road Benin, the story of residents in the area were pathetic.
Residents living around Erediauwa Area in Benin blamed the flood menace in the area on Upper Sokponba most and diversion of water by a Construction Company around Erediauwa.
A displayed resident sy Erediauwa area, Mr Obosa Uhunagho alleged accused a prominent Nigerian living of blocking water channel which use to be a retention point for water, thereby making residents in the area to suffer.
“The interest of one man is protected against the interest of thousands of people who live here (Erediauwa).
Another affected resident in the area, Mr Matthew Imadomwinyi, expressed disappointment over erosion menace and sudden turn of events.
A female retiree living in the State who lost her livelihoods in the flood, said: “As I’m standing here with you, the clothes in my body is the only property that I have left. My documents are inside the water”, She lamented.
The popular Bendel Insurance Football Club complex was filled with water while the cars in the compound were not spared.
Edo State Commissioner for Mrs Omuwa Oni-Okpaku, had assured of the State Government resolve to deal with flooding in the State.
Recall that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba has pleaded with the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, to request the Edo State Government to give attention to the continuation of the Benin Storm Water Master Plan.
The Storm Water Plan was started by the administration of former Governor Adams Oshiomole to address the menace of perennial flooding in Benin City.
The Minister revealed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Oba in his palace in Benin City to clear the doubts by residents of the State Capital over the persistent flooding problems in Benin City.
Agba, who was the State Commissioner for Environment and Public Utility when the N30 billion Benin City storm water Master Plan project was awarded by Adams Oshiomhole’s administration, explained that the initiative was aimed at combating the perennial flooding in the City.
According to him, since after the attempt by the administration of the late General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia to solve the problem, no other administration before Oshiomhole’s administration had done anything as significant as the Storm Water Masterplan.
He said, “nobody should play politics with the flooding problems of the City. The final solution to the flooding in many parts of the city requires up to 30 years of continuous implementation of the Benin Storm Water Master Plan as advised by experts.
“These represent money expended on the Uwelu East and West Water Storm project in the masterplan. The scope of Work including the construction of 9 roads one of which is a 7 Kilometer dual carriageway, all 9 roads with Street lights, walkways, sude drains and 7.5 Kilometers of diubke cell 3 meters by 3 meters underground primary drain and 7.9 kilometers of open trapeziadal drains.
“As at 2009, the Primary drains within the Storm Water Masterplan was estimated to cost about N300 billion. However the Oshiomhole government decided to prioritise and handle the projects one after the other in a holistic manner that will include the contruction of roads, secondary drains, walkways and streetlights.
“The N30 billion Uwelu East and West Storm Water project was 70% complete at the time we left office, 5 other Storm Water Projects within it had been 100% completed. These are the popular 5 Junction, Upper Lawani street, Constain road, Airport Road, Second East Circular and the New Lagos road catchment area.
“It took the courage of a visionary leader like Comrade Oshiomole to undertake the projects by refusing to play to the gallery. Most of the executed projects were not for public relations, which, unfortunately most public office holders either covet or indulge in.
“Your Royal Majesty, the present government in Edo State should be encouraged to continue the implementation of the master plan in the interest of the people”, he said.
A Benin based Human rights activist, Marxist Kola Edokpayi on Saturday, queried how the N30 billion contract for erosion control fund otherwise knows as the Benin Water Storm project was spent.
“Despite the N30 billion spent to control flood in Benin, Edo State is now the heartbeat of flood. When it rains 5 minutes, flood takes over virtually all the roads in Benin”, he said.
Edokpayi who shared a short video of a raging flood at Upper Mission road in Benin, holds the views that fund has not been properly utilized.
A set of measures designed to prevent a reoccurrence by the government seems to be reassuring as flood victims who kept vigil continue to mop up the devastation.