Residents of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, have begun voluntary sanitation activities to avert the 2017 flood prediction by the Nigerian Hydrological Agency.
The agency had predicted that there would be flooding in Thirty states of the federation, including Benue.
Those participating in the exercise who are mainly youths say the voluntary sanitation activities, which also include an awareness campaign to worst hit settlement like Abinse and Fidii, is part of their contribution to support government’s effort in ensuring a clean environment.
Residents of Akpehe in the Wurukum axis of Makurdi on Friday witnessed flash flooding, with the rising water level from River Benue, a major contributory factor to flooding in Benue.
“In the previous years, Benue suffered a great deal from the aftermath of flooding with a good number of citizens internally displaced and forced to live in informal camps as there were no official camps set up for them,” the spokesperson for the volunteers, Mr Laz Apir, said.
“Sadly, some primary schools had to bear the brunt of being shut down for weeks and even months. It is against this background that we have undertaken to create awareness ahead of the impending flood as warned by the Nigerian Hydrological Agency.”
While the state government has ensured major canals and drains have been kept clean, some residents whose drainages had become blocked, also rolled up their sleeves.
As the volunteers clear up blocked drains along the Makurdi-Gboko road, some of them offered advice about how to manage flash flood.
One of the participants, Rachel Unom, and the team leader, Mr Tersoo Akuler, spoke about what they were doing and how to keep the state safe.
“Sometimes, the government is over burdened with work and as citizens, we need to help in our own little ways,” they said.
They explained that in order to complement the government’s efforts, they first created awareness at Abinse and Fidii communities.
The team spoke to the people about floods and educated them on what to do during flooding.
One of the things to do, according to them, is to prevent people from converting the drainage system into a refuse dump.
“We feel that government should be supported through this period of flood scare to inspire it to do more. So, what we are doing basically is, creating awareness on when people should vacate flood-prone areas and clearing the channels through which water will pass in order to stop it from overflowing its banks,” they said.
“We hope that the mapping of household by the Federal government this year will provide an indication of how many people the flood will affect because there is already a baseline data for that.”
They advised that the management and disposal of waste by residents and traders should be keenly monitored to ensure that canals don’t get blocked and function appropriately.