The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Ministries of Water Resources, Transportation and Works and Housing and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to initiate the process of dredging Anambra River to get it back to its normal depth to contain the large volume of water that is emptied into it during the raining season.
The Green Chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the victims of flooding whenever it happens.
It mandated the Committees on Water Resources, Harbours and Waterways, Works and Appropriations to ensure the provision of funds for the dredging of the Anambra River in the 2021 budget estimates.
These decisions followed the adoption of a motion on: ‘Need to Dredge the Anambra River to Avert Flooding of Communities in Anambra, Enugu and Kogi States sponsored by Chinedu Obidigwe (APGA, Anambara) at Thursday plenary.
In his presentation of the motion, Obidigwe said the House noted that Anambra River had a depth that enabled it to contain a large volume of water emptying into it from various rivers and tributaries during the raining season without any recorded incident of overflowing its banks to ravage the coastal areas.
He said the House recalls that in 2012, heavy rainfall caused flood to occur, which ravaged the coastal plains and caused water currents to reach the coastal soils, and in the process, moved sands into Anambra River bed, thereby rendering the river depths shallow. Consequently, whenever a large volume of water empties into the river, it overflows its banks into the coastal communities, wreaking havoc on homes, schools, worship places, farmlands and other valuable places.
According to him, the House is aware that the yearly overflowing of the river overwhelms Enugu Otu, Mkpunando, Ezi Agulu Otu, Umueze Anam, Ifite Anam, Ezi Anam, Nzam, Olumba na’asa and Umundeze communities in Anambra State, Ojor, Igga and Asaba communities in Enugu State and Odeke, Echonu and Obale communities in Kogi State, destroying farmlands and house hold items worth billions of naira.
Obidigwe said, the House, “also notes that the economic losses to the annual flooding of those communities as a result of the shallowness of the Anambra River depth cannot be compared with the cost of dredging the river to reclaim its normal depth which will enable it contain large volume of water whenever it is emptied into the river, as obtainable in the past before its siltation”.
He added that House was “cognizant that dredging the Anambra River will provide an alternative route for evacuation of oil which is currently being explored in the Anambra basin”.