By Nathan Nwakamma
The Bayelsa Government says it is taking steps to ensure that the anticipated flooding expected in some states does not have adverse consequences on residents.
Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, gave the assurance on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa.
He said that the state government had stepped up activities to mitigate the anticipated flooding of states located on the lower basin of the River Niger, including Bayelsa.
The commissioner said that the state government, against the experiences of the 2012 flood, had set up a flood response team
According to him, the team comprising of relevant government agencies will go round the state to monitor flood-prone areas and respond swiftly to any emergency situation.
The development is coming on the heels of the alert by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHSA) that nine states on the axis of River Niger and three others on the River Benue axis are set to experience floods.
Iworiso-Markson said the state government was partnering with stakeholders and experts, including the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to ensure that flooding was put under control.
He gave an assurance that there was no cause for alarm given the proactive steps so far taken by the government.
The commissioner also said that the state government had provided a call centre with dedicated telephone lines to enable residents in the state report cases of high water level in their areas.
He said that the mobile numbers to contact were 08025814636, 08110413567 and 09037582261.
NAN recalls that the Bayelsa government had in 2012 set up a flood Management Committee headed by Chief Francis Doukpola to disburse the N500 million donated to the flood victims by Chief Mike Adenga.
According to Doukpola, the committee became moribund after the funds and N35 million take-off grant were allegedly depleted.
NAN investigations, however, indicate that many residents of coastal communities prefer flooding as their fishing vocation enjoy a boom during such incidents.
Mr James Agodi told NAN that in spite of the challenges associated with perennial floods, many pray for water levels to rise and overflow the banks with abundant fish.
“Those of us living near the riverside actually enjoy abundant fish catch during flood seasons as there is no need to go far to get fish.
“The flood waters carry a lot of fish and there would be a catch anywhere there is a net.
“Even those who are not engaged in fishing as their occupation return home at such times to fish.