CSOs call for action to end flooding

FromAustine Tule, Makurdi

LawyersAlert, in conjunction with Connecting Lens are calling for action from stateactors and residents to ending flooding in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The callcame at the occassion marking this year’s World Environment Day (WED) held atthe headquarters of Lawyers Alert Makurdi.

LawyersAlert President and member of the Police Service Commission Rommy Mom Esq, saidMakurdi is sinking “year after year,” due to flood.

“Wehave seen roof tops submerged in this town; residents have lost property anddignity. It’s becoming a yearly thing. It’s a circle again and again,” Momsaid.

Heexpressed concern that government has not done much in terms of provision ofquality drainages, lack of education and awareness creation to ending themenace.

Accordingto Mom, failure on the side of government to take action to ending thesituation is a “grave human abdication of responsibility by those ingovernment.” It is not a disaster because it happens yearly.

“Theunfortunate thing is that we have a government here that we pay tax to. So,when citizens year after year desert their homes, suffer economic loss due to adisaster that we know will happen; citizens lost dignity, then, we begin toquestion the government that we have.

“TheMakurdi situation is easy to address. I believe that corruption in terms ofbuilding drainages in a manner that does not conform to standards is theproblem; the lack of education and awareness to people who should know,”he said.

Dr.Bernard Tyubee, Climatologist and Lecturer in the Department of Geography BenueState University (BSU) Makurdi, blamed flooding in Makurdi on populationincrease, unregulated development and habitation of flood plains.

“Thepopulation of the city (Makurdi) is increasing and if care is not taken, moretradigies will come. The crisis in the north east has pushed many to run toMakurdi, affecting urbanisation; same way as conflict in rural areas.

“Andwhen the population increases, the demand for resources including landincreases and because land in flood plains are cheaper, new comers take them,sometimes unknowingly,” the Climatologist said.

Whilefaulting the habitation of flood plains, Dr. Tyubee suggested turning of suchareas into recreation centres, which he said would even earn government moneywhile allowing residents to relax and enjoy natural atmosphere.

AndLazarus Mom, Producer of Makurdi flood documentary said the project is aimed atbrinfing to the fore the issue of flood as experienced by residents of Makurdi.

He notedthat “no concerted efforts have been made to see the real experience ofthe people in terms of losses and discomfort. The project is about documentingthe issue of flood with the aim of getting decision makers in taking decisionsthat will change the narrative.”

The 2020World Environment Day is celebrated under the theme: Celebrate Biodiversity.Over One Million species, according to experts are facing extinction, due toenvironmental degradation.

World Environment Day is a principal vehicle by theUnited Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhancespolitical attention as well as promotes ways to improve the earth’senvironment. The day is observed on 5th June of every year.

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