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Delta to remove illegal buildings on waterway

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Experts predict that the state will experience significant flooding this year.

Following the prediction of Experts and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT) that Delta State will experience significant flooding this year, the administration of Delta State has announced plans to demolish buildings and other illegal structures in Warri, Udu, Sapele, Uvwie, Ughelli, and others in the state that have been built over natural water channels as a flood management measure, This was announced by Chief Frank Omare, the recently appointed Director-General, Special Duties for Delta State while visiting buildings in the Warri and Uvwie regions of the state that are in the way of the state government’s ongoing development of the Storm Water Project.

Chief Omare paid a visit to some of the affected areas in the neighbourhood before the bulldozers, along with other powerful machinery, began to roll out in the days to come to tear down buildings and other structures impeding Waterways in the Warri axis of the state. Part of the affected places include a private-storey building, a church on Nemejor Street, and Auntie Rose Street, some of the structures that have been earmarked for removal at the Ugboroke Layout.

Solving the problem of floods in Warri is urgent.

Several structures under Construction on a water channel near a new estate on the road leading to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Housing Complex were also slated for removal. A multi-story structure at the Ekpan Roundabout was slated for Demolition because it was built near a waterway from which other drains in the region discharge water to the Ekpan River. Omare also ordered the people who had turned a portion of the water channel into a wood market to leave the area or see their goods destroyed.

Additionally, he and his teammates conducted an examination of the Waterways located on Uti Street and Okoribi in the Alegbo neighbourhood of Effurun. He emphasised the importance of doing it right in order to solve the problem of floods in Warri, Uvwie, and Udu, as well as the rest of the state. The current status of unapproved structures obstructing the water channels, which is still the primary cause of flooding in the area, prevents Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s vision for New Warri from being realised.

Collaboration from homeowners is needed to address the issue.

They anticipate the highest level of collaboration from homeowners to solve the issue. There is no need for pity or threats at this time. The situation on the ground is urgent, and he has been given the green light to get things done. To raise awareness, they are searching for illegal buildings and contacting their owners. Omare urged the owners of buildings obstructing water channels to leave as soon as possible because they would receive no advance warning before the bulldozers arrived to demolish the structures.

He explained that he would not give in to blackmail in the course of performing his duty. The Director General requested that those individuals who possessed genuine documentation of approval for their buildings send those documents to his office so that they could be verified with the relevant authorities. Omare emphasised that the issues of flooding in Warri and its environs have been particularly severe, and he indicated that owners of buildings that have legitimate approvals would be reimbursed to allow for the free flow of water.

Water channels clogged over the years will now be free.

Lastly, it was during the administration of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, with Omare serving as the Commissioner for Environment, that the state last took decisive action to address the flood problem in the Warri area and other places in the state due to the blocking of natural water channels by unconstitutional structures. Once again, he finds himself shouldering the burden of reopening natural water channels that have become clogged over the years, with the inevitable result that even moderate rainfall will cause flooding.

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