The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Monday June 4, 2018 advised residents of the territory to be on guard as the rainy season heads to its peak. It also reiterated its constant call on residents to avoid illegal developments as well as dumping of refuse on waterways.
This followed the flood incident in Karshi, a satellite town in FCT penultimate Saturday. The flood equally affected settlements close to Karshi. Ambrose Umelelle (26) and Esther Aka (20), residents of the neighbouring Kokosu community of neighbouring Nasarawa State lost their lives in the incident. These two were among the four whose vehicle was carried away by the flood. One of the passengers was however lucky as he jumped out of the vehicle. The remaining passenger was still been searched for by the Search and Rescue team of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
According to the Chief of Karshi, Ismaila Mohammed, this kind of flood had never been witnessed in this community.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, while on tour to see the damages caused by the flood described the incident as a natural disaster with promise that government would work toward checking future occurrence. He directed that engineers be dispatched to study the situation and make recommendations.
The Acting Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, Mrs Florence Wenegieme reported that the river bisecting FCT and the neighbouring Nasarawa State had risen above its banks on account of massive rains and consequent flood from the neighbouring hills overwhelmed the box culverts and overflowed the roads.
Every year, sad stories of flood are told in FCT. Last year, flood claimed many lives and property in neighbouring Suleja in Niger state with spillover effects on the nation’s capital. Many factors account for this. One, FCT has a peculiar terrain. With its numerous hills, storm water moves with great velocity. Being a very fast growing place, construction works are ubiquitous. Permitted and not permitted construction works are done all around. In the process, major waterways are reduced to culverts. Moreso, lowlands are reclaimed for the purpose of building houses with scant regard for consequences.
Then the ever rising population of FCT is a problem. Today, it is not only common to see huge waste generation in thickly populated areas but also use of non biodegradable materials which pose serious environmental dangers. Uncontrolled and excessive use of plastic materials gives rise to big environmental problem. Heavy human activities are concentrated on places initially designed for far less population. The result is much waste is dumped in the canals, clogging the waterways.
And of course, activities of government officials charged with the responsibility of ensuring that guidelines are followed in construction are a problem. Sometimes, one looks at a building and asks how come such would be. Some officials, particularly of the Development Control Department fail to do what is expected of them, thereby giving developers who are not restrained by moral or ethical principles room to do as they wish.
When the heavy rains set in, the pressure of water descending the hills of Aso, toward the already constricted waterways would cause huge washout, leaving in its trail destroyed homes, infrastructure and even human beings.
Weather conditions can be harsh and erratic. The only way of evading anger of the elements is to obey the rules. Standing on the way of nature is simply being unreasonable. Nature does not wait for humans and cannot be held back.
For this reason, Viewpoint Housing News re-echos the FCT minister’s call on resident of the federal capital to beware the Ides of March.
Residents in Karshi, Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Abaji, Kwali and Kuje living in low areas in particular should relocate to higher topography, as part of measures to avert disaster in the territory.
Government should step up monitoring to ensure that flood plains are left alone or works on them are done with the best of engineering skills. Where unapproved or dangerous works have been done, necessary action be taken immediately with no regard for whose ox is gored.
Taking precautionary measures at this time is the best thing to do. Flood can wash way houses, destroy public utilities and both human beings and livestock. It devastates communities, displaces persons and disrupts economic activities. It should therefore, be our collective responsibility to guard against it. Heeding early warnings on prevention of flood is the best thing to do.
More importantly, it is high time we demanded judicious use of the ecological fund. States receive 1.4 percent of the ecological fund, federal government 1 percent, and the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) 24 percent, from the Federation Account. It should be clearly shown that this money goes where it is meant to go.