Flooding: Dredge Niger, Omambala Rivers, build buffer dams in Anambra - Monarch tells FG

Flooding: Dredge Niger, Omambala Rivers, build buffer dams in Anambra – Monarch tells FG

Traditional ruler of Umueri, in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Ben Emeka has appealed to Federal Government to find lasting solution to the perennial flood disaster in the state.

He also urged Federal Government to dredge River Niger and Omambala River as well as build buffer dams capable of accommodating the waters.

The monarch gave the assurance during advocacy visit by Social and Integral Development Centre (SIDEC) to secure community buy-in ahead of the sensitization programme which will be organized for women and girls in the community.

The project, supported by Action Aid Nigeria and funded by Global Affairs Canada, is being implemented under the Strategic Opportunity Fund, (SOF).

 “Federal Government should be decisive to stop it. They should dredge River Niger and Omambala River. They can also build  buffer dams that can accommodate the waters,” he said.

While pledging his community’s unalloyed support towards the success of the climate change sensitization campaign being executed by SIDEC in the area, Emeka directed the woman leader of the community to mobilize women from all villages of Umueri massively for the sensitization programme.

He said, “We know it’s sheer luck that Umueri is a beneficiary of this intervention. We are an agrarian community but, flooding has impacted us badly especially our people who live along the river bank. 

“It sacks them from their houses, destroys their farms and earnings. We also host people from Anambra West and other parts of Anambra East because we are the closest to them,” he stressed.

The royal father further called on the State government to put farmers in flood prone communities into consideration in their interventions.

“Sometimes around September, October, when we should be harvesting the crops, that is when the ministry of Agric will start distributing farming implement. By the time our people collect it, it becomes useless because flood has already covered their farmlands. 

“So, if the Ministry of Agric can give them these inputs in October for next year and around  February, March, you give them again for the same year, it will help greatly,” he added.

In a remark, Palace Secretary, who unusually is a woman, Princess Ngozi Okoye, appreciated the choice of Umueri for the awareness campaign about climate change. 

“If out of all the communities affected by flood, you have chosen Umueri, it shows you are our friend. We do not take it for granted”.

Mrs Maureen Ajide, the woman leader.of Umueri, recalled that the onboarding meeting held last week was a huge assurance that the project would benefit every woman in the community.

“Already, I have learnt a lot. I now know there are flood resistant crops and that there is a cassava specie we can plant and harvest in six months. This programme will benefit us very well”.

Earlier, Executive Director, Social and Integral Development Centre, SIDEC, Mrs Ugochi Agalaba-Ehiahuruike, stressed the need to educate women farmers who form more than 70 percent of the entire agriculture work force in the country about the impacts of climate change on their vocation. 

“The project, “Climate Change and You” is meant to help reduce the losses women and girls suffer as a result of perennial flooding. 

“Most of them have already lost interest and food crisis is looming. We are happy to identify with Umueri. We want to educate our people that there are things they can do to help themselves against climate change”. 

“We have invited an expert, the Head of Climate Change Desk in  the Ministry of Environment to sensitize our people on how to reduce the impact of climate change on them” 

“In our advocacy visit to government ministries  departments and agencies later this week,, we will be advocating for early release of whatever government wants to give to farmers so that they can harvest before flood comes”.

In her presentation, the Desk Officer, Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ifeoma Onuzulike, called on the women of Umueri to embrace agroecology, which ensures that food production does not aggravate the climate change challenge.

“We need to do Climate Smart Agriculture. We must shift from seasonal agriculture. Human activities such as burning of bushes, use of chemical fertilizers are affecting us negatively. 

“We must stop doing agriculture in a manner that endanger lives of humans and other living.  Dangerous chemical in inorganic fertilizer can affect our water bodies, our health etc. We need to go back to composting”.

Some of the women both old and young recounted their losses as a result of flooding, drought and pest infestation, even as they appealed for quick intervention from the federal and state governments. 

“We really need government to come and help us. When flood comes, we lose everything we have worked for. Some of us are in huge debt now,” Cecelia Nnalue, a woman in her 70s lamented.

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