Environmentalists in Nigeria have advocated for the dredging of River Benue to prevent the annual reoccurrence of flood in different regions of the country.
A professor of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi, Joseph Utsev, said flooding had become an annual disaster, which caused the country an estimated $9.12bn loss, approximately N4.2tn last year.
In his words, “We are talking about flooding. For example, River Benue is heavily silted and that is the only reason we are having flooding in the country. If I am given the ministry (of water resources), I will collaborate with the ministries of transportation, agriculture, and other ministries to see how we can tackle the menace of flooding by trying to see how we can dredge the river. By dredging the river, you would have to curb the menace of flooding and as well provide the water for irrigation, so that will solve the problem.”
Also speaking on the issue, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers, Sesan Odukoya, urged the Federal Government to protect shorelines, dredge Rivers Niger and Benue, and construct some dams on the corridor.
He called for the building protection barriers and drains, among others to prevent a repeat of the flood disasters that ravaged many parts of the country last year.
He said, “The Federal and State Governments should limit infrastructure provision along flood plains, to discourage people from purchasing land and settling in such areas. Also, both the Federal and State Governments should take action to discourage people from building on flood plains and use engineering solutions to avert flooding in areas already built up.
“The government could construct barrier walls to re-channel water from built-up areas along flood plains through large drains to the larger water bodies. The Federal Government should go back and implement those reports that we submitted to them because there are supposed to be some dams along the River Niger and River Benue’s corridor.”
IMAGE: The Nigerian Maritime News