Akwa Ibom Rolls out Plans to Tackle Flood

*Sensitization, aggressive desilting to commence

Akwa Ibom State Government has indicated readiness to commence aggressive desilting of gutters and flood control channels across the state.

This indication was given on Thursday, at the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Monitoring and Mitigation Committee, set up by the governor, Pastor Umo Eno, in response to the 2024 annual flood outlook released by the Federal Ministry for Water Resources and Sanitation.

Speaking at the meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, the Commissioner for Information, Comrade Ini Ememobong, said the committee has received information from the federal government on the areas with high flood threat and other areas that are prone to flooding and flash flooding.

He said efforts to tackle flood in the state, were borne out of the governor’s concern and interest in the wellbeing of his people, adding that the erosion control project in Atiku Abubakar Way and its environs will be launched soon.

The Information Commissioner, who noted that flooding could affect agriculture, education, and every sector, and is capable of creating new poor people, in addition to bringing about more diseases, said, “That is why the government is making plans to ensure that the citizens are safe.”

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Rt. Hon. Uno Etim Uno, mentioned the highly flood-risk areas in the state, which include Ibeno, Ikot Abasi, and Eastern Obolo local government areas, as well as other coastal areas like Oron, Mbo, and others.

He added that his ministry would commence intensive desilting of outforce drains in the state as a mitigation measure against the consequences of the flood prediction.

On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh, noted that floods always come with serious public health implications. He added that the plans of the government concerning the flood will take care of the people, especially those in rural areas, in line with the rural development mantra of the ARISE Agenda of the administration.

In addition to distilling of gutters, the Water Resources and Sanitation Commissioner, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo, encouraged citizens to be much more proactive in the aspect of defecation. She said that when there is a flood, there are always high levels of disease due to poor hygiene and sanitation.

Mbobo charged parents to be sensitive to the hygiene of their children, mentioning that children are most prone to being affected by situations like floods.

On her part, the Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, Dr. Offiong Offor, averred that proper handling of flood issues will help to preserve farmlands, thereby achieving food sufficiency.

Offor noted that Agriculture Extension Agents will be used to sensitise farmers on food agronomic practices so as not to have farm lands washed away and make animals come under diseases, thereby reducing the effects on the farming sector.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, Obong Prince Ikim, hinted at plans and ongoing actions by the agency to desilt gutters and flood control channels in Uyo and other parts of the state.

The meeting, which conveyed the assurances of the government to citizens and residents of the state of the preparedness to take all necessary actions to ensure that the effect of the impending flood is greatly minimised, had in attendance members of the committee: the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Iquo Abia, Esq; the Director of Flood in the Ministry, Mr. Okon Udo; and a Director in the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways, Alex Inyangudo, who represented the Commissioner in the Ministry.

It would be recalled that early this week, a flood alert was issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Water Resources, warning 31 states in the federation, including Akwa Ibom, of an imminent flood disaster and the imperative of devising potent measures to mitigate the menace.

Governor Umo Eno consequently constituted the Committee on Monitoring and Mitigation of Impacts of the projected Flood, mandating it to meet, deliberate, and submit its report within 48 hours.

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