An environmental scientist and former lecturer of geography at the University of Calabar, Dr Ojong Okongor, has raised alarm over the attitude of Nigerians who are fond of situating their building projects on sites which were reclaimed flood and landslide prone areas.
Dr Okongor who is also a member of the governing council of Federal Polytechnic, Bali, Taraba State and Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said that the cost of reclamation exercise was very high and many people do not have the financial power to do proper reclamation as specified.
He equally said that Living apartments and other building projects which people are erecting recklessly on reclaimed sites are dangerous. Rain will simply wash them away in no time,”
“What kind of materials are people using to do the reclamation? These are what experts and government should be interested in, in order to caution people and save lives.
Referring to the landslide at Edim Otop ravine in Calabar which killed eight persons recently, he blamed the residents for choosing to live in such a risky place.
He wondered if they wanted government to stop the flood and landslide which they knew definitely would visit them. “People that live in such environment should learn to be foresighted instead of blaming government for their woes,” he stressed.
He said in an environment like Edim Otop, there was a specific chemical that could be used to work on the drainage but that the cost could run into several billions of naira. “If you know that your environment is threatened, you don’t have to wait for government intervention. You must quit the place otherwise you are keeping a date with death,” he added.
He advised that government should demarcate danger zones, especially now that the original master plan of Calabar has been distorted.
Dr Okongor who is now leading Nigeria Mandate which mobilizes people’s opinion, further suggested that for those that live in such flood prone areas should plant trees, especially Indian bamboo. “Indian bamboos have been known to prevent flood. But people are building houses and hostels recklessly at wrong places in the quest to rake in more money,” he said.