By Esada Uyono,
Erosion in Asaba and Okpanam areas occasioned by heavy downpour of rain will soon be a thing of the past, as Delta State Government and the major contractors handling the construction of stormwater channels are fully committed to complete the multi-billion Naira projects on or before February 2019.
The Commissioner for Works in the state, Chief James Augoye gave the assurance on behalf of the state government at a media parley with news men in Asaba on Wednesday 18th July, 2018, held at the Ministry of Information Conference Hall.
Executive Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Communications, Barrsister Fred Oghenesivbe quoted Augoye as saying that the two reputable major contractors handling the projects, Setraco Nigeria and CCECC (a Chinese conglomerate Construction company in Nigeria); have demonstrated impressive commitment, capacity and have the required modern sophisticated equipment and technical experience to deliver according to specifications and contractual obligations that was sealed, signed and delivered with Delta State Government.
The governor’s EA Communications urged the general public especially Asaba and Okpanam residents to ignore the black propaganda being peddled by enemies of government and the opposition party who took to the social media alleging that Okowa administration kept deaf ears to the problems of flooding in the state capital and its environs, adding that Gov Okowa is a visionary leader committed to the overall development of the new Delta State of our dreams.
Oghenesivbe further quoted the Works Commissioner as saying; “the stormwater channel at Nnebisi that runs through DLA, Jesus Saves across Nnebisi and FMC roads down to Anwai River is about 80% completed.
“And as soon as we are done with the surface discharge by the river end, the flooding experienced for many years in Jesus Saves, DLA and AGRIC road corridor will be drastically reduced as stormwater shall find its way effortlessly into River Niger.
“While that of DBS area through Cabinet-Umejei Adudu Way to Anwai River, is about 40% completed. However, if you visit that project, you will discover that it’s being done in sections; we are dealing with the excavation areas and thereafter we are going to connect the sections before connecting it at the discharge points.
The channel at the Raph Uwechue Way via Ibori Golf Course and environs shall convey stormwater into the Anwai River and the three star projects has been estimated to cost over N11.5 billion.
“The state government shall do anything and everything necessary to ensure that flooding in Asaba and Okpanam areas do not exceed February 2019. We urge residents to be patient and cooperate with government and the contractors so as to facilitate performance promise.
“And of course these candid efforts by government and contractors will not create much impact this raining season as rightly disclosed by His Excellency the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, at the last quarterly media chat with Journalists.
“It’s therefore a truism that we are still going to experience some challenges this raining season as residents in Asaba and Okpanam areas shall experience some level of inconveniences as a result of flooding in the state capital, et al.
“The storm water channel in Ambassador Ralph Uweuchue through Ibori Golf Course, is also receiving prime attention. Massive work is going on; and if you visit the River Niger, you will appreciate the level of work going on there to address the flooding. Once that is connected, we shall move to the channel rooted from Okpanam road.
“We shall also connect the Okpanam road channel to the Ibori Golf Course, and while this is going on; residents shall still experience some inconveniences until the entire project is completed and duly commissioned early next year.
“The Okpanam road channel was actually awarded to the contractor on 13th December 2013; and we came on board on the 29th day of May 2015, and met no structures on that road. By this I mean, the work done can neither be classified as single nor dualized carriage way.
“The drains that were started by the contractors before we came on board were not connected; so we decided to revalidate the project which is in two sections. The entire project is about 6.4 kilometers.
“We instructed the contractors – Setraco Nigeria and CCECC to take over from the former contractor that was working on the initial drains; to ensure that the drains are properly aligned to flow without hindrance as we have it in the master plan.
“And you can see that what we have done at the moment is to the exact specifications so as to ensure that flooding from Okpanam, Ibori Golf Course, AGRIC, Nnebisi, FMC, Mariam Babangida, DLA, Jesus Saves, DBS road axis and other flooding roots are properly emptied into the various Rivers once completed in 2019.
“The downpour of rain on the 13th and 15th day of July, 2018 was devastating across the country; and actually resulted in heavy flooding that created public outcry and inconveniences for residents in Asaba and Okpanam areas.
“The flooding was about 15 metres high from the adjoining roads down to Okpanam road; and the high velocity had the capacity to pull down buildings, and structures on the right of way. It was that bad across several states in Nigeria.
“If not for the early commencement of stormwater channels construction that acted as breakers against the high velocity of flood; occasioned by the unusual heavy downpour of rain in Delta State, the Asaba-Okpanam flooding would have wrecked greater havoc, pulling down buildings and structures. You can see that government efforts saved residents from serious calamity this raining season.
“The work that is going on at Okpanam road stormwater channel under construction also acted as breaker for the flooding in Ibori Golf Course thereby reducing the velocity of flood that would have destroyed buildings and other structures situated around or near right of way.
“What happened last week Friday and Tuesday this week was that flood water permeated through the asphalt and created gap in construction. This development is not strange in the sense that until the various channels are completed and connected to empty flood water to final destinations; residents are bound to experience some inconveniences. And as a responsible government, we felt and still feeling the pains and loses experienced and suffered by residents.
“Another big challenge we are having is the bad attitude of some residents who daily dumps refuse along the drainage channels thereby creating more problems and at the same time worsening the flooding problems experienced at the moment.
“Dumping of refuse along flood water channels obviously obstructs free flow of stormwater thereby diverting water into right of way, road surface and the sequences of these indiscriminate dumping of refuse is the obvious overflow of flood water into buildings and road surface.
“Be rest assured that as soon as the ongoing construction of the various stormwater channels are completed on or before February 2019; flooding problems shall become a thing of the past in the state capital and environs,” Hon Augoye assured Deltans on behalf of government and contractors.
It will be recalled that the state government has so far spent over N164 billion to rehabilitate and construct roads including over eight trunk ‘A’ roads which ought to be rehabilitated by the Federal Government.
Oghenesivbe furher asserted that the state government decided to end the hardship experienced by motorists along federal roads across the state as part of its Smart Agenda vision of good governance and wide spread of dividends of democracy for the comfort and pleasure of the good people of Delta State.
He said members of the APC lacked moral justification to accuse the state government, because the APC national government responsible for the repairs and rehabilitation of federal roads across the country failed woefully in its 2015 electioneering campaign promises to Deltans and Nigerians.