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FG urged to run forensic audit on flood areas

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By Timothy Akintola

Forensic analysis to help determine damages caused by human activities.

Over the last few months, the challenge of flooding that affected numerous states across Nigeria raised a national concern. This catastrophe caused many citizens to become victims of displacement as houses were continually submerged. Regarded as the worst flooding issue to have ravaged the country in a decade, lives and properties were threatened by this issue that spread across most states like wildfire. Similar incidents were experienced in 2012, where Nigeria was reported to have lost N2.6 trillion in Revenue, millions of people displaced, an estimated 600,000 houses destroyed and another 363 people killed. Per reports, the flood which was caused by heavy rainfall and the release of excess water from the Cameroonian dam, led to a rampage that threatened the lives and properties of millions of Nigerians.

However, some of the victims affected by the flood in Orashi area of Ahoada East, Ahoada wast and Abu Local Government Area of Rivers State have urged the Federal Government to provide a forensic audit on the flood-affected areas across the country to determine the extent of damage caused by the flood. Mr. Che Ibegruwe, a native of Erema community, Egi Land, ONELGA recently clamored for the Federal Government to order the enactment of the forensic audit in his community for determining the damage level before remediation.

Egi suffered environmental degradation due to multinationals’ operations.

Ibegruwe noted that prior to the flooding disaster, his Egi clan, as well as neighboring communities suffered from Environmental Degradation, basically an effect of the operations of multinationals around their communities. He made his displeasure known during a visit by the Environmental Right Action/Friend of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoN). He noted that as a result of the already degraded environment, the flood affected them worse, recalling that a similar experience was recorded in 2012 but could not be compared to the severity of this year’s.

He lamented that the flood incident experienced this year was a lot more complex as it devastated the environment more. He further disclosed that worse of it was the oil exploitation and the negative effect of disorganizing the environment. He noted that regardless, Nigeria’s oil was being exploited since 1958. The oil companies in these periods, had been able to deforest the area, leaving these communities unprotected and as such, the environment being destroyed.

Oil and gas explosions had left this environment with no protection.

Continuing on, he explained that the community was a free zone for environmental impact in a way or another for oil and gas explosions. As a result, there have been no protective facilitation. He pointed that the 2022 flooding incident impacted numerous communities, killing people and submerging houses and properties. Ibegruwe added that the devastation has led to numerous victims being sick, including himself. He however lauded the efforts of the various organizations that saw to dispatching relief materials to the refugees around the community.

Ibegruwe noted that the impact of this flood demanded a forensic analysis, whilst disclosing the aftereffect of the flood on the health status of the people in the community. He pointed out that he was a victim, as most his family members were now suffering from various illnesses that were not even expected. According to him, a forensic examination of the environment would be pivotal in determining the gravity of damage that the environment had experienced. He said that although the flood was a natural disaster, the forensic auditing would help in determining the damages also caused by human activities.

ERA was monumental in disbursing relief materials to affected areas.

In a similar case, Dandi Mgbenwa, one of Okwuzi’s community leaders also disclosed that about six lives were lost as a result of the severity of the flood. He explained that it took immense help from external sources to save his aged mother, as the flood submerged most houses in his community. The ERA however was monumental in disbursing relief materials to most affected areas in Rivers State. Kentebe Ebiaridor, the team leader and programme manager noted that this gesture came upon the organization’s follow up on the impact of the flood on the livelihood of the victims and urged for quick actions to be made by the Federal Government and other stakeholders in finding a long lasting solution to the flood, to ensure that the people in these environments can return to their normal lives.


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