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Anambra Gov. Aspirant Visits Onitsha Estate Flood Victims

A PDP aspirant to the governorship of Anambra State, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, has said that the perennial storm water flooding of parts of the commercial town of Onitsha and environs, would became a thing of the past, under his administration, come 2010.

Speaking during a visit to the bridgehead housing Estate, Onitsha, which was flooded, following three days of rainfall, Dr. Obiogbolu identified the major problem as the blocking of the Nwangene / Otumoye creek corridor by “ Mountains of solid waste and illegally constructed structures” along the channel which together impede the natural flow of storm water into the River Nigeria.

He attributed the flooding, which he described as saddening, to failure of the Peter Obi administration in addressing the ecological and sanitation problems in Anambra State. “It’s unfortunate that the state government has wasted millions of naira purportedly dredging of the Nwangene creek and in putting billboards and adverts in newsreels, but the rains have now exposed the truth”, he posited.

He sympathized with the over ten thousand (10,000) residents of the affected area over their predicament, urging them not to despair, as hope of a permanent solution to the problem was in sight.

Dr. Alex Obiogbolu 

 

"Dredged" channel, photographed 2 years ago, was blocked by solid waste soon after construction. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Since the elongating lull in the Nwangene Drainage Project, we have been virtually submerged by flood" - President General of Bridge Head Housing Estate Community, Jerome Chikeluba (Engineer).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until recently, flooding in eastern Fegge was confined to the Silas Works and Ochanja neighborhoods. Continued increase in storm water discharge citywide, together with total blockage of drainage along the Otumoye/Nwangene Creek, have resulted in diversion of accumulated liquid waste in the flood plain into the Housing Estate, which is to the south of Silas Works Road (shown in the picture)

 

 

The 500-building middle-class housing estate in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra state and rest of south-central Nigeria, was paralyzed when a three-day nonstop rainfall deluge brought unprecedented disaster to their doorsteps in late July 2009. Eyewitness account described the Bridge Head Housing Estate as a “lake of houses” because only rooftops of buildings in the development were visible and everything else was under floodwater which has devastated that part of the city. Alarmed and panicked women and children were reported to be screaming in distress for help as they scrambled, often by swimming through the murky floodwater, for safety to drier grounds of adjoining neighborhoods of Fegge and Upper Iweka. Household properties of residents were seen sailing on top of the floodwater which swept everything on its way downstream toward Okpoko and beyond.

"I was here when Chief Jim Nwobodo built and opened this estate in the 80s. It was a great celebration. Everybody wanted to live in this estate. It was really a hot cake. But after Nwobodo left, nobody has done anything to keep the estate in good shape. It now looks like a slum with glorified buildings", laments the tearful Pa Nwabufor Nnabuenyi who has resided in the flooded housing estate for decades. "People are really suffering here and nobody seems to be listening. Perhaps, they are waiting for the day when all those staying there would die before they can come and do something," distressed Nnabuenyi concluded.

 

With blockage of Otumoye/Nwangene Creek drainage, flooding is inevitable in Fegge 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silas Works Road & Zik Avenue junction suffers annual flooding during rainy seasons. Whole area is deserted as traders and roadside artisans flee the devastated neighborhood for months at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stagnant flood water in picture covers most of the Silas Works and Ochanja neighborhoods for many months of the rainy season. Population of pests, especially flies and mosquitoes, increases several folds and severely afflict the health and well being of residents of the area and entire business community.

 

 

 

 

 Whole premises can be submerged under feet of dirty water mixed with sewage & debris

Commiserating with Bridge Head Estate residents over their immense loss, Dr. Obiogbolu promised: “My administration will de-silt the Otumoye creek channel to permanently put an end to the flooding that also destroys the roads which taxpayers money have been expended on repeatedly by successive administrations. He asserted that the present administration was interested in touching everywhere with limited income thus proving penny wise pound foolish, as inability to bring in professionals to clear the channel have in the end costs billions of damage.

The PDP gubernatorial hopeful also drew attention to a similar situation at the erosion control project in Aguata local government area, which collapsed due to what he called poor professionalism.

Dr. Obiogbolu used the opportunity to also urge the Peter Obi administration to stop embarking on new projects, whereas there are abandoned projects and uncompleted projects all over the state, adding, “He should endeavour to complete projects such as the mini stadium at Onitsha South as well as road projects, rather than leaving uncompleted projects everywhere for the incoming administration", the vivacious PDP governorship aspirant advised.

 

 

 

 

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