From Amos Okioma,Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to correct the misconception that only three local government areas suffer from flooding in the state.
Governor Diri, who stated this when officials of the agency paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa, declared the whole state as flood prone.
The Governor, represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo stressed that Bayelsa occupies the lowest part of the country where all the waters from River Niger and River Benue pass through to empty themselves into the Atlantic Ocean.
Consequently, he said the entire state experiences flooding and its devastating effects every year, pointing out that it was wrong on the part of NEMA to single out Ogbia, Nembe and Brass as the only flood affected areas in the state.
According to the Governor, most parts of the three areas captured in NEMA’s document have brackish waters and therefore suffer less flooding than other local government areas.
He listed the most impacted areas to include Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa where communities are flooded every year.
While assuring NEMA of the state government’s readiness to support it carry out an objective assessment of environmental challenges facing the state, Senator Diri reiterated his call on the Federal Government to pay more attention to the development of Bayelsa.
His words, “I thank you for this visit. But let me use this opportunity to correct the misconception that only three local government areas experience flooding in Bayelsa.
“You specifically mentioned Nembe, Ogbia and Nembe. But that is not the true position. These places particularly in Nembe and Brass have brackish water. So, flood threat is not as high as the fresh water areas.
“On the converse, parts of Southern Ijaw that do not have brackish water, Ekeremor, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa are the areas that usually have high probable flooding.
“So, the truth is that the whole of Bayelsa is flood prone and must be treated as such. I can tell you that even this Government House is under threat. If not that we have done a semi dyke, you would have seen the water very close by now.
In his remarks, the Head of Operation, Edo State Operation Office of NEMA, Mr Dahiru Yusuf said the team was in the state to carry out on-the-spot assessment of possible areas of flooding in line with the predictions of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
The Head of Operation, who was represented by a Senior Relief Officer, Mr Ifeanyi Omeje called on people of the state to be proactive by observing the warning signs of flood as well as relocating from flood prone areas.
He said, “My office has already written a letter to the state government pointing out the areas that will have the impact of flood this year. So our reason of being in the state is to take an on the spot assessment of the impact of flood in Bayelsa State.”