The Imo State Government is set to begin the demolition of illegal structures blocking waterways in flood-prone areas.
The planned demolition follows the red alert issued to the state government by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) that there could be flood disasters in communities in 12 councils.
NEMA listed the councils to include Owerri West, Owerri North, Njaba, Nkwere, Mbaitoli, Ezinihitte, Isu, Isiala Mbano, Aboh Mbaise, and Orlu.
The Director-General of the agency, Mohammed Mohammed, who visited the state for an awareness campaign, said the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had listed Imo as one of the states to witness heavy rainfall this year.
Mohammed, represented by Umar Abdulaziz, said although the state had demonstrated capacity in disaster management in the past, urged Governor Hope Uzodimma to show more commitment this time around.
“NIMET in January predicted that some councils in Imo would be ravaged by flood and this informed the NEMA DG’s decision to send a delegation here for an awareness campaign and early warning approach,” Abdulaziz said.
“We have interacted with all disaster stakeholders and also with the government, and I can assure you that we are satisfied with their level of preparedness but they must not relent in showing commitment at all times.”
The governor, represented by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Cosmos Iwu, said his administration had been tackling flood-related issues to ensure that the master plan of Owerri was followed.
He said houses and shops restricting the free flow of water into Otamiri River would be destroyed.
Uzodimma added: “We are appealing to NEMA to assist us because the environmental impact of the flood in Imo is bigger than us. We have been doing our best and we will continue to do our best.
“We have received some relief items from NEMA but we are asking for more, we also commend your visit, it shows serious commitment.”
Also, the Commander, 211 Quick Response Group Nigerian Air Force, Group Capt. Elisha Bindul, told the delegation in his office that the command was committed to disaster management.
MEANWHILE, the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Iyk Njoku, said the state government had identified over 300 erosion sites in the state.
He said this yesterday in Owerri while fielding questions from journalists.
Njoku said residents of Trinity and Oborekwe had been ordered to relocate temporarily.