…As group calls for dredging of River Niger
By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
The Federal Government has been asked to commence the dredging of the River Niger and also step up measures to mitigate flood menace and save over twenty thousand families who have been sacked by flood menace in Anambra State.
The call was made yesterday by four civil society groups: Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development, ECID, a United Kingdom, UK- funded project for development:;Justice Development and Peace Caritas , JDPC, Onitsha; Hope Givers Initiative, HOG-I; and Civil Rights Concern, CRC, during a joint press briefing at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Secretariat, Onitsha Anambra State.
The groups specifically said that only the dredging of the River Niger will stop the perennial flooding that sacks thousands of currently displaced riverine communities in Anambra State, particularly communities in Ogbaru and Ayamelum Local Government Areas in Anambra North Senatorial zone.
They also called for a change of academic calendar for schools in communities affected by flooding and deployment of medical doctors and primary health care givers to provide health care services to victims of flooding in IDP camps across the state.
The groups also urged Anambra State government to provide upland storage facilities for the flood displaced communities who are predominantly farmers, just as to provide conducive permanent Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camps for them.
Programme Manager, ECID/JDPC, Onitsha, Mr. Alphonsus Nwoye who addressed newsmen on behalf of the groups regretted that flood has continued to ravage Anambra communities, particularly, the Anambra North senatorial zone communities since 2011 because the federal government failed to take proactive measures to address the problem of flooding in the area.
He alleged that all the promises made to the people during the 2012 flooding were not kept by the federal government in spite of the repeated calls by organizations and individuals for the promises to be fulfilled.
A press statement entitled “Agenda setting on Flood Menace Mitigation in Anambra State Riverine Communities” signed by Mr. Nwoye for ECID/JDPC Onitsha; Okey Onyeka for CRC and Mrs Onyeka Udegbunam for HOG-I, called on both the federal and Anambra State government to summon enough strong political will to implement their respective environmental protection policies to save the people from problems associated with environmental degradation.“”Federal Government should expedite action on total dredging of the River Niger and Anambra State government should commence the dredging of surrounding rivers like Anambra and Ezu rivers in order to deepen water depth and minimize overflowing of river levels during rainy season.
“There is need for policy change of academic calendar for schools in these communities. It has also become very imperative for deployment of teachers to organize teaching in IDP camps during flooding.
“Deployment of medical doctors in health facilities and Primary Health Care, PHC, staff to deliver health care services in the IDP camps is also very important for flood victims.”