For over 50 years, residents of Isheagu, an agrarian community in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State slept with one eye closed due to the fear of uncertainty occasioned by the environmental related challenges caused by flooding that bedeviled the community.
The devastating impacts of the flood over the years have become a bugging playmate which as a matter of fact reportedly ascends to its peak during the rainy season when the rampaging flood demonstrates it strength oftentimes leaving the people in a hopeless situation.
It was this development that prompted the Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa led administration to create a 10km artificial canal from Isheagu to the Iyeti River for onward discharge to River Ase, a major tributary of River Niger.
This efforts according to the State Commissioner for Environment, Barr. John Nani will not only address the perennial flooding challenge of the community but will improve water transportation which will boost agricultural produce from the area.
He explained that the ministry has been inundated with reports of the devastating impact of the the flood on the community for years and with the proactive and visionary foresight of the Governor, we are here to permanently address the flooding challenges in this part of the state.
“You will recall that we mobilized here last year at the peak of the flood to set up palliative measures by opening some natural water canals which not only resulted in the easy flow of water from our homes but also in the provision of dry land for improved agricultural yield.
Speaking Further, Hon. Nani stressed that His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa insisted on the need to permanently address the situation for the benefit of the people and graciously approved the opening of existing canals and creating of new ones to tackle the flood challenge in the area.
Hon. Nani who took a boat ride on the new canal stated that about 8km out of the proposed 10km canal has been completed with the effort already yielding its expected positive result.
“With the massive flow of water and the current of the new canal, I am convinced that our effort is yielding the needed positive result already. We will continue to improve on our effort to ensure that Isheagu-Ewulu road dries up for socioeconomic activities to resume on that road”.
Later at the palace of Obi Onyema II of Isheagu Kingdom, the Hon. Commissioner counseled the community to jealously protect the efforts of the government by discouraging indiscriminate dumping of waste in drainages and water canals saying that these water bodies has never been the safest and convenient place for waste disposal as it usually has negative impact on the community where everyone becomes a casualty.
Accompanied by the Hon. Member Representing Aniocha South Constituency, Hon. Angela Nwaka, Hon. Nani warned against building on water canals and urge the Obi-in-Council to help disseminate the information to his subjects as government will not tolerate blocking of these canals.
Hon. Nani also commended the Community for the support given to the officials of the ministry so far and urged them not to relent in their encouragements and support to the team for their remaining days in the community.
Earlier, the community who spoke through a former Commissioner for Works, Chief Jerry Ossai expressed thanks and gratitude to Gov. Okowa for remembering the community in his even distribution of prosperity across the state.
He stated that the community will remember this kind gesture of the state government for a very long time saying that what the Governor has done is unprecedented considering the challenging economic realities of the state.
He also passionately commended the sincere efforts of Hon. Nani and Hon. Nwaka saying that their wonderful contributions to salvage Isheagu, Ewulu and neighboring communities will not go unnoticed.
“Emotions will fail me if I go memory lane to recount all that we have lost to the ravaging flood for the past 50years but we thank God for using Gov. Okowa and his team to wipe our tears. May God richly bless Gov. Okowa and continue to grant him the enablement to pilot the affairs of the state to greater heights,” he added.
The Hon. Commissioner was joined on the inspection by the Hon. Member Representing Aniocha South Constituency, Hon. Angela Nwaka; the permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Nkem Ajufo; Mrs. Pauline Chidi, aides and officials of the Ministry of Environment.