Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Government has vowed to demolish houses built on wetlands and prosecute the owners.
Commissioner of Environment, Professor Roseline Konya, stated this, yesterday, when she spoke at a workshop organised by the Environmental Centre for Oil Spills and Gas Flaring, also known as National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NAGGOND), in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Professor Konya, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Emmanuel Urang, expressed worries about the negation of government orders against building on wetlands.
She warned residents to stop building structures on wetlands to reduce the effects of flooding, accusing communities of also contributing to flood menace in the state.
“We have discovered that the flood we are witnessing in Rivers state is caused by people who built houses on wetlands. The state government has warned that people should stop building houses on areas that affect easy follow of water.
“We have also discovered that many communities are also contributing to the flood menace in the state. They should stop selling such lands to people.
“Almost all the flood cases occurred as a result of communities giving their wetlands to buyers against the approval of the state government.
“We want to also advise that there should be steady desilting of drainages and people should appreciate the efforts of Governor Nyesom Wike, through the establishment of RIWAMA, to keep Rivers state clean.
“We want to warn, again, that people should stop building houses in areas that affect easy flow of drainage. Henceforth, such buildings would be demolished and the owners prosecuted,” professor Konya stressed.
Similarly, the lawmaker representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) Constituency and House of Assembly Committee Chairman in charge of Environment, Christian Ahiakwo, challenged Niger Delta people to join in safeguarding the environment, through tree planting.
Ahiakwo disclosed that, as part of his way of protecting the climate, no fewer than 600 trees have been planted through 12 schools in the local government area.