By Enyim Enyim
ONITSHA—GOVERNOR Willie Obiano of Anambra State has commenced a study to mitigate the perennial flooding in Onitsha metropolis and its immediate environs.
This is made possible through the State government’s partnership with the Special Climate Change Fund, SCCF, under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, NEWMAP.
The project known as Onitsha Storm Water Management Master Plan, held its first stakeholders’ engagement workshop on Tuesday.
The study involves understanding flood and drainage discharge patterns with intent on developing a lasting solution for Onitsha and its environs.
The Obiano government stated that it is committed to promoting economic security by addressing gully formation, vulnerability to soil erosion and creating climate-resilient Anambra State, one community at a time.
The governor said that Onitsha as the gateway to eastern Nigeria and its economic nerve-centre, is well-chosen for the project given its peculiar location, which combines road and waterway access points, making it one of the four main potential industrial and commercial growth areas in Nigeria.
“Based on the back drop of this situation, Onitsha Urban Storm water Management Master Plan is being developed as part of the climate-resilience in Anambra State”, he said.
“This project will be achieved through enhanced awareness and educating communities affected by flooding so as to promote a change in behaviour, identifying and assessing the storm water drainage needs of Onitsha city and prepare a Master plan to allow for prioritization, detailed design and implementation of infrastructures and projects to reduce flooding, manage the menace of and impact of rain after, allow for improvements and development to proceed without recourse to the lives of the community.
“Finally, outline and identify institutional arrangement and relevant stakeholders for the implementation of the project for a sustainable development”.
Speaker after speaker at the workshop suggested that there should be full implementation of the ASWAMA law to enable them carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.
They said that receptacles should be provided near the residents so that they do not silt the drainages thereby causing flood whenever it rained.
The chairman of Onitsha South, Emeka Asoanya while speaking, thanked the government for the keen interest it has for de-silting Onitsha and stated that the local government would embark on enlightenment on waste management.
He stated that because of the increasing urbanisation, there was need to re-design the drainage by expanding them.
“Our problem is flood and we want it to be channeled to the River Niger,” he said, adding that “because of urbanisation, many buildings are springing up and do not allow water to go into the ground whenever it rained.
“I advise residents not to throw waste into the gutters to avoid flooding”.
In his opening remarks, the Project Coordinator for Anambra NEWMAP, Michael Ivenso who was represented by the Natural Resources Management Officer, Emenike Ajulufo explained that the project was based on the effort of the State governor, Dr. Willie Obiano, who sourced for funding from the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
In his remarks, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe represented by the President-General, Onitsha Improvement Union, Chinyelugo Osita Anionwu commended the effort of the state government through NEWMAP and called for a through undertaking for the assignment pointing out that the issue of flooding, silted drains, building on flood channels and waste management, has been a major bane to the development of the city.