By Maduka Nweke

Apparently disturbed that Anambra State may witness another of flooding this year, some indigenes of the state have called on the Governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo to drop whatever plans  he has for a smart city status for Awka if such efforts will not first tackle flooding.

The indigenes who spoke to PropertyMart, said that tackling flooding in the state will be a laudable project compared to projecting smart city status when majority of the towns are sitting g on water.

Speaking of the smart city project which is a pet project of the government, Mr. Chidiume Okechukwu, said that government should consider people’s priorities before taking or flagging off projects. “It is true we can have a city on water, but I don’t think Anambra State has got to the level of development where elitist projects like smart city will be top priority. The Governor should look for solutions to tackle flooding, erosion and things like that otherwise after that your city, erosion will erode it down,”he said.

Another indigene, Mrs Akaluka Nwora, a cement dealer said that flooding has superseded other natural disasters in the state and unless something urgent is done before the rains come, the experience of the yesteryears will be a tip of the iceberg. She said, “a stitch in time they say, saves nine. If the government fails to make hay while the sun is shining, sorry will become the nickname of many families,”she said.

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Governor Chukwuma Soludo, while inspecting areas covered by flooding late last year said, one-third of the state has been submerged by flood, turning the already “bad situation” of the state as the “erosion capital of Nigeria” to “worse”.

“The fundamental thing for us is not so much the ravage of this flood, it has made a bad situation worse for us in Anambra. The environment is Anambra’s number one existing threat. Anambra is the gully erosion capital of Nigeria with about 30 per cent of our lands under threat by gully erosion,” the governor said. He said his government has been “cleaning up drainages just to let water get to the river but water from the rivers now overwhelm one-third of the state, even a little more than one-third of the state”.

The Governor said Nigeria must have a national emergency conversation about flooding to avert recurrence. “What is the nation doing to prepare for the next one because we know that it will happen again and again? It has been happening, and Cameroon will soon open the dam in the next one or two years. What is the national plan to deal with the next one? Whether we are going to build dams or embankments along the banks of the rivers. I think as a nation, we need a national emergency conversation,” he stated.

Floods hit parts of Nigeria with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) saying that about 2.5 million persons were affected and over 603 persons killed by the flooding caused by torrential rainfall of late. Houses and farmlands have been submerged in Lagos, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Imo, Abia States, and the Federal Capital Territory.