By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”OVER N30 billion is needed to check the flood and erosion confronting Benin City, Edo State capital, Commissioner for Environment, Mr Clem Agba, has said.
He said that when the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole assumed office, it became necessary to have a detailed design of the affected areas, a holistic approach in dealing with the problem which had devastated some parts of the state over the years.
According to him, in order to avoid a situation whereby human lives would be threatened as it happened during last year’sÂ raining season, the state government decided to embark on palliative measures, particularly at 5-junction and Okhoro areas.
Agba said that â€œWhile doing that, we de-silted about one hundred kilometers of drain within the city and the de-silting is still continuing.
â€œIn the last three or four months, that is why you noticed a lot of controlÂ in terms of flood water; that is why when it rains, itÂ disappears within five minutes.â€
Agba, who spoke to Vanguard in Benin City yesterday, explained that â€œapart from the palliatives, we have awarded three major contracts for three major flood areas.
â€œOne is 5-junction area, which consists of about fifteen roads. Costain area, with about five roads and work has commenced there.
â€œWe also awarded a contract for stage one of Siluko road, while the other areas are waiting for details of the design that will provide a long term solution to it.
â€œBenin City requires not less than N30 billion to solve our flood and erosion problem. When we have the master plan and the designs are ready, we are going to privatize. The fact that we have it does not mean that the problem will be solved in one year because we do not have that much resource.
“For flood and erosion specifically, we have N5.4billion. So when you look at N5.4billion compared to about N30billion that is required, you need a couple of years to put things together.
â€œBut had we met structures that we were able to build on, we would have gone far. It is better to have a clean land with nothing to commence work than meet an area where you have structures that do not meet up with standard.
â€œYou have to start by removing those structures.”