We’re Ready to Step On Toes If … –Uduaghan

BY DENNIS OTU

WARRI

GOVERNOR Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has expressed the state government’s determination to step on erring toes in its desire to de-flood Warri and other flood-prone areas of the state.

Speaking to journalists while monitoring last Saturday’s environmental sanitation exercise in the commercial city, the governor said; “We must get it right this time around, hence we are ready to step on the toes of anybody obstructing free flow of water in our cities and towns.

“If you have built on natural water channels, we will come after you and pull down your structure. I have directed the state Commissioner for Environment (Mr. Frank Omare), who is going around with me in monitoring the sanitation exercise, to bring down all structures blocking easy flow of water and nobody can intimidate us,” he said.

He expressed happiness over the way the environment commissioner is going about the clearing of drainages and linking of water canals to the major river in the city, noting that the exercise is for the good of the people and, therefore, there will be no going back.

Addressing residents of Otirikpen Street, off Odien Street in the McDermott Road area, Uduaghan blamed the problem of flood previously witnessed in the place on human activities, including erection of structures on natural water ways.

His words: “The whole of this area used to be flooded up to the knee or hip level, but with the opening of the place water is now flowing freely through the channels.

“I am very happy that we have been able to achieve this. It is a very big achievement because for those of you who live in Warri you know the kind of havoc that flood has been causing and people are actually moving away from this area, but now they are quite happy.”

The governor vowed to prosecute owners of illegal structures on waterways as well as those that gave them approval to build.

“That you got an approval illegally, even from somebody in government, does not mean that you are right. You that built on top of water and the person that gave you the approval are both criminals.

“I am not going to pay compensation to anybody. You built a house on top of river and you are asking for compensation? I am not going to pay any compensation.

Uduaghan said embankment would be built on both sides of the channels from the beginning to the end, to make their clearing easier.

In his message to Deltans, he said; “Once we see any building that is illegal we will destroy it no matter who you are. Even if the person is me, I will order them (ministry of environment) to destroy it.”