By Our Reporter
The capital city centre of Owerri, Imo State, on Monday witnessed the worst flood since the rain began this year, prompting calls for the restoration of the drainage system built by the Mbakwe administration.
Christian Voice checks revealed that Douglas Road, Tetlow, Trans Egbu, Wetheral and Okigwe roads were the most hit where traffic became a log- jam in after the rains.
The traffic situation was however made worse by the ongoing constructions in the urban renewal project of the Imo State government.
Speaking to our reporter, a bank official in the state, Mr. Reginald Okwu, recalled that Owerri had the best drainage system built by the Sam Mbakwe administration, which was channeled into Otamiri and Nworie rivers.
According to him, the gutters have been blocked and there is no sign that the State Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) would desilt them to allow free flow of water.
He also criticized the gutters being built at present as the roads are being widened, saying that they might not stand the test of time.
Residents of World Bank Housing Estate, near Umuguma, also suffered the flood which covered the roads leading to the estate, right from the Yar’Adua Drive.
From School Road to MCC road by Wetheral junction up to Douglas road, flood overtook the entire areas.
Several pictures were posted online by witnesses of the menace which caused traffic gridlock and stifled human movement.
Our reporters who monitored the flood reported that its intensity was overwhelming as never in a long time has such huge flood been witnessed in the State capital.
Flood is nothing new especially in a city that is undergoing massive infrastructural renewal. The present administration in Imo State had embarked on some construction works that centered on road expansion and rehabilitation. Bank road, MCC road and other major roads in the city had been undergoing serious expansion.
As good as the motive is, concerned had arisen over the consistent reoccurrence of the flood particularly when there is a little downpour in the city.
Investigation revealed that most of the construction works on the roads do not have functional drainage systems or waterways and in most cases are completely blocked.
Owerri is said to be in a valley, is prone to flood if nothing is done to free the blocked drainages and waterways.
The persistence of the flood makes nonsense of any effort to improve or redesign the city.
Analysts contend that if no action is taken to minimise its persistence whenever it rains, soon the city may be overrun with flood.
Mr.Malachy Onuegbu, an Owerri city resident, said while the people seemed to appreciate the urban renewal programme of the State government, the inherent gains from such laudable plan is completely diminished when flood deals a devastating blow on the populace whenever there is a little downpour.
He called on the State government to get competent contractors to handle most of the ongoing projects in the city.
There has been widespread criticisms over the competence of the contractors handling majority of the state government road projects in the state.
Ernest Anuyo, a businessman expressed worry that if no action is taken to fix the flood in Owerri when there is a downpour, “then flood has come to stay with us”.