The Delta State Government has vowed to step on toes of anybodyin the bid to de-flood the oil city of Warri and other flood-prone areas of the state.
Speaking to newsmen in Warri while monitoring the lastsanitation exercise at the weekend, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan said: ”We will step on toes of anybody in ourdesire to de-flood Warri and other parts of the state; we must get it rightthis time around hence we are ready to step on toes of anybody obstructing thefree flow of water in our cities and towns.”
According to the Governor, ”If you have built on natural water channels, we will come after you and pull down your structure. I have directed the Commissioner for Environment, who is going around with me in the monitoringof the sanitation exercise to bring down all structures blocking easy flow ofwater and nobody can intimidate us. I am happy with the way the EnvironmentCommissioner is going about the directive I gave him. What we are doing is forthe good of our people and there is no stopping us.”
Addressing the residents of Otirikpen Street off Odion Street inthe McDermott Road area of Warri, Governor Uduaghan told them said: “Most ofthe flooding that we have in this environment is man-made. People just opentheir eyes and build structures on natural water ways. Others dump their refuseright on the drainage. Of course water will always find a way to go through andthat is what has been happening. And it has no way to pass that is why thewhole place is getting flooded.”
“The whole of this area used to be flooded up to the knee and attimes hip level before this place was opened up recently by the Ministry ofEnvironment. But with the opening of the place you now find out that water isnow flowing freely toward the channels. I am very happy that we have been ableto achieve this. It is a very big achievement because for those of you who livein Warri you know the kind of havoc that flood has been causing , but now theyare quite happy”, he added.
He said; “Both the person that approved such building and theperson who built in such a place are criminals and I am going to trace allinvolved and bring them to book. The fact that you got an approval illegallydoes not mean that you are right even if it was done by somebody in thegovernment. I am not going to pay compensation to anybody. You built a house ontop of the river and you are asking for compensation? I am not going to pay anycompensation.”
According to the Governor, “What we are going to do isthat we are going to put an embankment on both side from the beginning to theend. And of course if there is an embankment the siltation will be reduced andit is just to ensure that the channel is cleared regularly. The message toDeltans is that once we see any building that is illegal we will destroy it nomatter who the owner is. Even if the person is me, I will order them to destroyit. No matter how close you are to me and all that because it is not about me,it is about the people. This exercise is going to continue as long as thisgovernment is in place.”
A resident of the area, Mr. Johnson Uhrorho commended the State Government for the enormous work done in the area saying it has helped tocheck the flooding, adding, “We aregrateful to your government for opening up the blocked canal; we have been suffering over the years.”