By Laide Akinboade
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), said 13 lives have so far been lost to flooding in 3 years.
The Permanent Secretary, FCT, Chinyeaka Ohaa, stated this when he flagged off the 2019 assessment tour of flood prone area councils of FCT, organised by FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
He decried the habit of indiscriminate dumping of refuse by residents of Abuja, saying that this is the main cause of flooding in Abuja.
He said that the administration has concluded arrangements to strengthen the impact of sanitary inspectors across the six Area Councils as one of the solutions to the challenge.
“Unfortunately, flooding has become a recurring incident in some of our communities, even in normal rainfall seasons . This is largely due to human influences, especially the persistent attitude of residents dumping refuse in drainage system, farming activities by river banks and building on water ways, which are violations of laid down environmental laws. We must break away from this costly cycle of recurring flooding, and attitudinal change by all residents remains key.
“Years ago, the presence of local sanitary inspectors popularly known as ‘Duran gari’ in Hausa was enough to guarantee proper sanitation and good hygiene in communities, and cases of flooding were uncommon unlike today.
“Given the positive impact of Sanitary Inspectors on the environment, the Federal Capital Territory Administration will strengthen their operations across communities six Area Councils in order to enforce strict compliance to issues of sanitation and the land use Act,” the permanent secretary emphasised.
He said the administration will not relent in demolition of buildings constructed on waterways in clear violation of relevant laws because of the overall interest of the public safety.
He urged community leaders, to take greater responsibility in ensuring that residents within their domains comply with waste disposal and building regulations.
He therefore commended FEMA for living up to its responsibilities by implementing programmes that is aimed at ensuring safety of lives and property of residents of Abuja.
In his welcome address, the Director General of FEMA, revealed that 13 lives were lost to flooding in Abuja in 3 years.
According to him, “From our statistics, five lives were lost to flood in year 2017 in FCT. In 2018, seven lives were lost out of which two were children that got drown while attempting to swim in a river. So far in 2019, one life has been lost to flood incident.
“In the light of these worrisome statistics, I want to strongly appeal to community leaders and their subjects to take greater responsibility for flood risk prevention.
He said nobody can safeguard communities from flood and other dangers more than the communities are willing to safeguard their lives.
“While the primary responsibility of government is to ensure the safety of lives and property, it can only be achieved if preventive programs are taken seriously by the people. It is therefore the responsibility of community leaders to ensure compliance to sensitization messages especially with regards to proper waste disposal and avoidance of building or farming on water ways, while parents should also advise their children against risk behaviours such as swimming during raining season when the level is high”.