Says ministries ignore warnings
*Oyan and Lagdo Dams, cause of alarm
*Victims turn oil platforms, boats to homes
By Jide Ajani, Emma Amaize, Samuel Oyandogha, Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan continues his tour of flooded states
across the country, a fresh alarm has been raised warning of a possible
wipe out of the ancient town of Abeokuta, in Ogun State, and parts of
Lagos State, both in the South West geo-political zone, and a
substantial part of the South South Zone. (Click here for interview)
possibility of this calamitous development, Sunday Vanguard has been
made to understand, could occur in the event that there is a collapse of
the Oyan Dam, which is north of Abeokuta; just as the subsisting
process of releasing water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, if sustained,
would only continue to worsen the already terrible flooding conditions
in the S/South zone.
An expert in flood management and control, Dr.
Akingbola Omigbodun, gave this warning in an interactive session with
editors of Vanguard.
Omigbidan, who disclosed that he had written
letters to the Ministries of Environment, Water Resources as well as to
the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the
Federation, painted a frightening picture of what could happen in the
event that the Oyan Dam collapses because of the huge volume of water it
continues to hold:
“The dam is north of Abeokuta. Just imagine
water that has been trapped, about 10 stories high, breaking a barrier
and flowing downwards to Abeokuta. You asked what would happen!
you would have would be a major disaster Just imagine water 10 stories
high rushing downwards. It would wipe out everything on its path. That
is what would happen should the Oyan Dam collapse and with the way water
is being held back by the authorities of the Ogun/Osun River Basin
Development Authority, anything can happen”, he warned.
management and control expert pointed out that some of the major
reasons dams are built are not being addressed by those who should
manage the dams.
According to him, dams are built for purposes of
irrigation and power generation but these dams are not being used for
these purposes and the way water is released ‘wholesale’ makes the
ordinarily bad flooding situation worse for Nigerians.
described a similar scenario happening in the north eastern flank of the
country where, he said, waters from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon
contribute dangerously to the downward river force of the River Benue.
waters from the Upper Volta into the River Niger and the waters from
the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon which rush into the River Benue, with the
confluence at Lokoja, all come downwards to the Niger Delta and the
states of the S/South zone. Yes the situation in that zone is very
terrible but it would get worse because the force of the water is still
Oil platforms, boats as homes
tales of woes occasioned by flood in Delta State continued, yesterday,
as victims reportedly trapped in over 20 communities, including
Ayakoromo, Bobogbene, Gbekebor, Obotobe in Burutu local government area
turned oil platforms, boats and farmlands to makeshift homes to escape
The troubled victims called on the state government to evacuate and provide relief materials for them.
affected are Yayorogbene, Ekoro-gbene, Abegbene, Okwagbe,
Ofonigbenghan, Ogbingbene, Newtown, Ekorogbene, Azibiri, Ogodobiri and
Niger-Delta activist, Comrade Austin
Ozobo, who hails from Ayakoromo, the country home of ex-militant leader,
the late John Togo, told reporters that 10 children were rescued from
flood, which had destroyed property worth millions of Naria.
disclosed that a basket of garri was selling for N1,500 against the
former N400 price; basket of beans – N1,700 against the former N1, 400
price; and basket of rice – 1,400 against the former N700 in riverside
Also in Delta State,
Ughelli Descendants Union, UDU, yesterday, evacuated over 1,000 Ughelli
indigenes in Uduophori and Odorubu communities, Patani Local Government
Area, Delta State from the areas after their homes and farmlands were
submerged by flood.
The Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom, HRM Oharisi III,
said the decision to evacuate the victims was necessitated by the
danger posed by the flood in the affected communities. He said the
kingdom was committed to the welfare of its subjects across the globe.
General of the UDU, Chief Kenneth Iwhewhe, and Chief Miller Uloho,
while receiving the victims at the Ughelli Kingdom hall, expressed
concern on the pains the people were going through. While disclosing
that the union had sent relief materials to some youths of the two
communities they left behind to safeguard properties of the victims,
they said those taking refuge in the Ughelli kingdom hall would also be
provided with relief materials.
Dr. Stephen Oru, Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP, National Vice Chairman, South/South, noted that
the recent flood which affected 12 Local Government Areas of Delta State
was quite devastating and unprecedented in the history of the State.
said: “What has happened in the affected areas of the state was a
monumental tragedy. The affected communities have been sacked from their
homes and thrown into uncertainty and hardship. Some communities have
lost homes, farmlands, livestock, everything.”
Oru, who spoke to
newsmen after donating food items and blankets to the victims, said;
“I wish to use this medium to call on Nigerians to demonstrate their
religiousity (whatever their belief system may be) by being their
brothers’ keepers. Nigerians should participate in giving generously in
the form of food items, clothing and beddings to ameliorate the
sufferings of our fellow Nigerians in their moment of needs.”
of Personnel Management, HPM, in Ughelli North and Patani Local
Government Councils, Mr Clement Anighoro and Christopher Aghara
respectively, said the councils were mobilizing their health workers to
man clinics that will attend to victims.
Tension in Bayelsa over diversion of victims food
from Bayelsa State said Governor Seriake Dickson, yesterday, ordered
immediate reorganization of the food distribution network to the
internally displaced persons in the state following rising tension at
the various relief centres over diversion of food earmarked for flood
The governor also ordered the closure of a camp at the
Kpanisa suburb illegally set up by some top government officials solely
for non-indigenes, insisting that it was not in tandem with his
administration restoration agenda of carrying everybody along
irrespective of state of origin.
The centre, which had over 800 inmates, lacks potable water supply, electricity and toilet facility.
who directed the state Commissioner of Police, Kingsley Omire, and the
State Director of SSS, Andrew Iorkyar, to embark on a fact-finding tour
of some of the centres for internally displaced persons in Yenagoa
warned that any person caught diverting food for displaced victims would
be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.
He also directed security agencies to arrest any person caught setting up an illegal camps in the state for flood victims.
governor, who denied knowledge of the setting up of non-indigenes camp
for the flood victims, ordered the immediate relocation of the over 800
internally displaced persons at the centre to the officially recognised
Bishop Dimieri Grammar School BDGS and Sport Complex.
CLO seeks state of emergency
Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), in Bayelsa, yesterday, called on
the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in states ravaged
The group, which volunteered to monitor how the funds
earmarked for the flood victims by both the state and the Federal
Government is utilized, lauded government’s intervention at all levels
especially Bayelsa State for the assistance offered to the flood
Chairman of the group in Bayelsa, Comrade Nengi James, who
spoke in Yenagoa during the inauguration of the state executives of the
organization, also called on the international community and donor
agencies to come to the aid of the country especially the flood
“In the last couple of weeks, our communities,
villages and homes have been invaded by devastating flood, thousands
have been displaced, villages submerged with crops, livestocks and
properties washed away. What more can one say, the effect of climate
change is staring us right in our face, and the ugly consequences of
human activities are here with us,” James said.
“It is time for the
authorities to rise up to the occasion, enough of palliatives, enough of
piece meal, half hearted measures; it is time for pragmatic and time
tested solutions. The CLO is prepared to lead the way”..
THE Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday, provided relief materials to victims of the flood disaster in Delta State.
national president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, who is on a nationwide tour
of flood-ravaged communities in the country, handed over the materials,
which include mosquito nets, drugs and other medical supplies, to the
state government through the state Commissioner for Special Duties,
Delta State, Mr. Tony Nwaka.
Osahon and other NMA leaders visited
the victims at the Institute of College of Education, ICE, camp and
other rehabilitation camps in the state and urged them not to lose hope
as government was up and doing in providing their immediate medical and
GOVERNORS COUNSELLED ON RELIEF MATERIALS
the meantime, governors of the states affected by flood have been
urged to appoint only credible persons into the committees they set up
to distribute relief materials to victims.
Former acting Managing
Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Pastor Power
Aginighan, who made the appeal in Port Harcourt after a visit to some of
the flood ravaged communities in Delta State, said most victims were
still displaced in most of the areas he went to.
According to him,
there was hunger traced to destruction of farmlands by the ravaging
flood and threat of a major epidemic. He said some of those displaced
were still sleeping in canoes with mosquitoes all over them.
the Federal Government for the funds released to cushion the pains of
victims, Aginighan, who was also former Executive Director, Finance and
Administration of the NDDC, appealed to those appointed into committees
to manage distribution of relief materials not to see it as opportunity
to enrich themselves.
Some of the communities he visited were
Gbekebor, Ayakoromo, Okwagbe, Okrika, Ogbeingbene, Frukama, Ezebri,
Ogodobri, Okoloba and Akugbene.
An aerial view of submerged community in Rivers during President Jonathan’s visit. Photo: State House