The perennial flooding problem experienced in Uyo metropolis in Akwa Ibom State has been attributed to successive government inability to judiciously follow the drainage Master Plan for Uyo, the state capital.
This disclosure was made by the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Charles Udoh, while fielding questions from Journalists in Uyo yesterday.
The Commissioner also revealed that most of the erosion and flooding prone areas in the metropolis are purely man-made since according to him, most of the houses are built on water channels.
“Unfortunately, the drainage master plan for Uyo was not followed in the past, so today we are building an 8.4kilometers drains that will take water from Atiku Abubakar up to the Secretariat roundabout, then link it up to the Women Development Center along IBB way, into Atan Offot up to the PDP secretariat.
“That drainage because of the volume of water around the areas, will carry 50,000 litres of water per second. That is what we are doing about the IBB flood project. We also sought emergency intervention around the Etim Umanah and Anua which is expected by August.
“There is something that I want us to learn here that most of the environmental problems we are tackling in the state are man made problems. For instance, in the past 15years there was no IBB flood problem because houses are built on water channels, that is why public education, sensitization is important. Blocking the drainages with debris. We are also planning to bring back days of sanitary inspection. The environmental officials who their business is to promote environmental health”, he said.
Udoh explained that his ministry has reviewed a lot of compliments against noise pollution, stressing that as the ministry continue in it’s sensitization and awareness exercise, it would start to bring violators to book.
“Of course, I have received much complaint about noise pollution, it is an aspect that we will deal with as we progress”.
On mining business, the Commissioner agreed that it was on exclusive list, but warned that those with licence to operate, must have to liaise with the ministry on how to carry out their operations.
“Mining is in the exclusive list. Illegal sand and gravel mining are dangerous to our environment. When it comes to mining, we are saying that if you are dredging on a river, you cannot go lower than 150 meters close from the bank of the River to avoid triggering erosion and on land you must not dredge lower than 500meters from critical infrastructure.
“Sadly, today a case in point is between Eket and Onna where someone was arrested for dredging under the bridge. A bridge can collapse, environment devasted because of dredging. Following the Law that is what we are doing.