By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”RIVERS State government has assured residents of areas with drainage problem in the state capital that it was making efforts to address flood challenges in such areas.
Commissioner for Works, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave the assurance in Port Harcourt yesterday, said the government had engaged an expert firm on the issue, adding that the firm had turned in about fifty percent of details on the engineering design to permanently address the problem
â€œÃ„ny moment from now we would award contract for the drainage problem areas.Â We have identified forty two drainage problem areas in Port Harcourt . We have asked for drainage design on ten because the forty two will take more years. They will start work on five first,â€ he said. He said with the arrangement so far put in place, he was certain that the flood problem would be history in the state capital from next year.
To minimize the challenges at the moment, the commissioner said the government had set up an inter- ministerial committee, headed by Godstime Orluku, to come up with interventionist measures, adding that the committee had commenced manual evacuation of drains in the affected problem areas.
On the proposed Port Harcourt ring road project, Peterside said the government suffered a major set back on the plan when the federal government withdrew its interest from the African Finance Corporation.
He said despite the difficulty posed by the action of the federal government, he the project would continue.
According to him, from the beginning, the state government had conceived of a project that would run on public/ private partnership account and noted that the design and other ancillary studies on the road had been done
Peterside appealed to residents of the state capital to tolerate the slow pace of work going on at the Rumuokuta/NTA road, as the topography of the area was largely responsible for it.
The area, he said, is low line area and below C level, a situation he said posed serious challenge to any road construction firm.
He said to cushion the hardship undergone by residents in the area, the government had directed the contractor to open one lane of the road to traffic, just as he expressed optimism that the road would be completed before the end of next year.
The commissioner said at the moment, the government was spending N100 billion annually on infrastructure, stressing that all sections of the state, including the riverine areas, would be linked by road.