RESIDENTS of Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State and environs, who have been grappling with flood problems lately, may soon heave a sigh of relief, as the state government has intensified clearing of canals and natural waterways ostensibly barricaded by garbage. Expert trains Edo Poly students, staff on innovative product design, deployment(Opens in a new browser tab) Yenagoa alone boasts of several natural canals and streams, all turned into refuse dumps by residents, a development that has inflicted indescribable pain on inhabitants. Bayelsa, predominantly riverine, was the worst hit state along the lower River Niger during the 2012 and 2018 flood. So over the years, families in flood-prone areas usually relocated when rains set in. Governor Seriake Dickson reportedly embarked on the proactive measure to avert reoccurrence and mitigate the problem in the event of another flooding. Swamp bogies roll into action A top government official told NDV that “though flooding is a perennial occurrence in Bayelsa, which is the epicentre of the world’s third largest wetland, we do not pray to have a repeat of the sad memories of the recent natural disasters, hence we embarked on the aggressive clearing of the waterways in the state capital and its environs. “Swam bogies have been deployed to open up the troubled canals and streams, which residents have converted to waste dumps so as to drain the city of excess flood. “It is not something the government alone can do. Residents too must behave responsibly and stop dumping refuse in the canals and streams. We do not want a repeat of the 2012 incident, which caught many napping and as such, the canals and other natural drains are being cleared in Yenagoa metropolis. “Accordingly, this canal (opposite Ekeki Housing Estate), like others, which could have served as a natural drainage for the densely populated Ekeki and Kpansia area, but filled with refuse has been cleared up to the Berger Fly-Over linking Azikoro on the Isaac Boro Expressway,” the government functionary explained. Residents hail govt intervention Some residents, who spoke on the exercise, said the ongoing clearing of the canals in the state capital and its environs was a welcome development. An elated Ebi Jones said:
This is what governance is all about and we pray this effort is sustained. It will go a long way in reducing the problem of flood. “Before now, most of the canals were blocked due to the unwholesome activities of people, who instead of properly disposing their household waste, chose to make the canals refuse dump sites, thereby exposing others to health hazard and creating breeding ground for dangerous reptiles, some of which later invaded homes and bite their unlucky occupants.” A staff of the Environment Ministry said government was desirous of curbing the flood menace and urged all property developers not to encroach on the right of way of the natural drainage so as not to have their property destroyed.