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Surveyors tasked on sustainable flood management

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To reduce disasters associated with flooding, surveyors have been urged to be part of the solution to generate integrated flood management strategies. DAYO AYEYEMI reports

As memories of the devastated flooding that ravaged towns in Lagos Island, Niger, Akwa Ibom states and other parts of the country in July 2017 are yet to leave the victims, governments at all levels have been tasked on the need to engage the expertise of licensed land surveyors for sustainable flood risk management in the country

Surveyors’ engagement in flood control and management, built environment experts said, should be done in collaboration with other professionals such as engineers, town planners, sociologists, economists, environmentalists, hydrologists, flood managers, geologists and lawyers among others.

It was noted that surveyors, who are the custodians of geospatial data, were always pushed to the background when providing solutions during flood control and management
The new push, according to water experts, has become imperative due to many lives and properties that were lost to this year’s deluge coupled with the 2012 flood in Nigeria.

Both the Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Land Matters, Mr. Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo and Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Ornament Engineering Limited, Mr Sunday Egbiki, advised that land surveyors should be given priority in flood risk management, noting that they served as the bedrock upon which other professionals work.

Egbiki, who was the Guest Speaker during the Annual General Meeting and Luncheon of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Lagos branch, said that professionals should be equipped with the right tools and soft-applications to enable them produce the necessary data and base maps on flood risk maps, flood zone and flood evacuation needed for sustainable flood risk management.

He also called on government and professionals to wake up and put a preventive and strategic planning in place to mitigate the effects of flooding in Nigeria.

“Two heads they say are better than one. Nigerian professionals should put their heads together without working in isolation to fight a common goal, the menace of flood in Nigeria,” he said.

He pointed out that the structural measures the nation had been adopting could not solve the problem of flooding, adding that neither the non-structural measures alone could help.
He called for the adoption of an integrated approach that factors in the combination of both measures coupled with multi-disciplinary approach to reduce the effect to the barest minimum.

 

Causes of flooding

 

The stakeholders noted that flooding was not only becoming more frequent in Nigeria especially in the cities, but has also become more severe and devastating over the decades.

 

Egbiki said the increased frequency and severity of flooding could not be attributed to only increase in rainfalls as people popularly believed.

 

Rather, he said it was in response to climate change, sea level rise, people’s lack-lustre attitudes, increasing rate of urbanisation along the floodplains, population growth, inadequate maintenance of flood control infrastructures, absence of well-articulated and comprehensive physical planning and control within the floodplains and the watershed, and absence of legal law enforcement.

 

The guest speaker pointed out that flood hazards produce the most severe impacts on the economy and people’s safety and “that is what people know without remembering the benefits of floodplains.”

He stated that the degree of vulnerability to such natural disasters had been highest in developing countries like Nigeria, where the poor suffer the most as sheer necessity forced them to occupy the most vulnerable areas.

 

He said there was a clear evidence that economic losses caused by flooding were increasing at the global level, adding that Nigeria was not exempted.

 

For the record

 

It would be recalled that in 2001, rain caused flooding in Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom states, while 5000 people were affected. The same year, 12,300 people were displaced in Zamfara State by flood. In 2005, 2008 and 2012 flood disasters, Taraba, Imo, Edo, Benue and Plateau states were badly affected, displacing 65, 250 people, while 570 houses were submerged, leaving 43 people dead.

 

Suggestions

To reduce flooding in cities, the water engineer expert called for a paradigm shift from flood control to integrated flood management.

 

He described this measure as a process of promoting an integrated approach to flood management aimed at maximising the net benefits of flood plains and minimising the loss of life from flooding in a river basin within the framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

 

Aside from land surveyors , who he said were the first professionals in the concept of IFM, Egbiki called on government at all levels to ensure proper and effective use of ecological fund, adding that they should encourage the integration of environmental flood insurance schemes to protect people’s lives and properties when disasters strike.

 

He said: “National disaster and emergency policies should be strengthened to facilitate effective disaster preparedness and response. This approach will not only save lives and livelihoods, but it will equally reduce vulnerability to flood menace.

 

“Adequate and long-term environmental and natural resource management practices can help to reduce the risk and vulnerability of people in disaster prone areas. There should be collaborations among ocal communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), voluntary groups, local and international donor. Also, organisations towards managing floods should be established.”

 

Within the realm of professional practice, Egbiki urged that good land use planning and water resources management professionals should undergo training and retraining programmes in related fields to avoid corrupt planning practices that could jeopardise lives and properties of the people.

 

Last line

 

Dangerous political interventions in land use planning and water resources management should grossly be avoided in order to protect the occurrence of avoidable flooding menace.

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TCIP Customs explains cargo clearance delays at port

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The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said the recent in cargo clearance being witnessed by importers and Customs Brokers at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos is because the NCS Internet Server was down thus impeding cargo documents processing.

This was disclosed by the Tin Can Island Customs Public Relations Officer, CSP Tony Ejesieme during a chat with the Sunday Telegraph on Wednesday at the port city of Apapa.

Ejesieme noted that the internet network breakdown as experienced by the Service could cause delay at anytime and was not the fault of the NCS but that of a bad weather.

The PRO, who admitted that there was delay in cargo release, said the command had not captured any importers for cargo release but was optimistic that the network would surge back and cargo clearance processing would commence immediately.

“We have not been able to work since morning as no importers have been captured. This is another delay; issuing debit note has become a problem. But the network will certainly come back and we will commence work immediately,’’ said he.

According to him, the major reasons for delay were non-compliance with import guidelines, wrong classification and declaration by importers, and lack of working scanners.

He, however, absolved the Service of any complicity and maintained that the NCS works based on procedure. ‘’Whatever we are doing is based on procedure and in accordance with the import laws. It is true that there is delay; if there are issues of infraction, there will be delay,’’ he said.

Ejesieme also caused by lack of scanners, saying that all scanners in all the ports in Lagos have broken down completely except only one in Apapa which could not handle all cargo in the port and that is why many cargos are routed to physical examination.

‘’Scanners are not working; only one is working in Apapa, no one in Tin Can. The issue of scanners has to be settled and we have engaged government on it.’’

Advising importers and customs agents to adhere to the import guidelines, he said that the security of nation as the nation approaches the general elections in 2019 would not be compromised as the Service is working with other government agencies to protect the territorial boundaries of the nation.

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UBA Foundation reading through regions in Africa

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As part of its mission to improve the lives of communities in which the United Bank for Africa operates, UBA Foundation said it has continued to encourage African youths to adopt the culture of reading through its ‘Read Africa’ initiative.

Read Africa aims to rekindle the reading culture amongst young Africans. Designed and introduced in 2011 by the UBA Foundation, the initiative has donated hundreds of thousands of books to African schools since its inception.

This past week, The Foundation took its initiative to the francophone city of Libreville to the students of the George MABIGNATH high school in Gabon.

The launch of Read Africa in Gabon saw in attendance, the author of the selected book Sidonie, written by famous Gabonese writer Chantal Magalie MBAZOO.

It was a colorful ceremony that witnessed the CEO of the Foundation, Bola Atta reading to and interacting with the students in high energy in the presence of their Principal, Mrs. Boudounghou Biboutou Isabelle and other staff members.

Bola Atta summarized the Foundation’s initiative saying, “At the UBA Foundation, we are committed to improving the lives of the youths on the continent and one of the ways we can achieve this is to help you read more. I am here to talk to you a little about the importance of reading and how it can radically change your life. Reading encourages you to dream, it expands your knowledge, your vocabulary. It is a path to achieving your ambitions”.

 

Chioma Mang, the CEO of UBA Gabon also reiterated the mission of UBA and emphasized the bank’s commitment to the Gabonese community. “ I love children and I am happy to be here with you all today. I’d like to encourage you to read very well so that you can reach great heights in your life like me. UBA is going to be there for you all the way. You can count on us”, she said.

 

The Read Africa initiative then moved on to Zambia to the Horizon Secondary School in Lusaka where the Director in the ministry of higher education in charge of Vocation, Education and Training, Mr. Alex Simumba, thanked UBA and the Foundation for the good work that is being done across Africa. He said, “To UBA Foundation, we thank you for your support to the institution today. We welcome this and many more collaboration in the field of literacy and other higher education programmes. We also further encourage other private sector organisations to take a keen interest in such programmes because the youths who are receiving these literary materials will be benefitting greatly from them,” he said.

 

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Shell has disbursed N1.88bn to GMoU clusters in Delta State

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The General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Mr. Igo Weli has said that Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC) is still active in Delta State noting that the oil giant has executed a lot of projects in the state.

According to him, the oil giant has disbursed a total sum of N1.88 billion to Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) in clusters.

Igo Weli, who disclosed this when he spoke with newsmen in Warri on Thursday, revealed that the GMoU funding covers the three clusters currently active in Delta State since the inception of the concept in 2006, adding that Cluster Development Boards (CDBs) like their counterparts in other parts of the Niger Delta, are implementing health and educational projects among others.

During the media presentation of the 2018 Shell Nigeria Briefing Notes to Journalists, he also disclosed that Shell has established a Professorial Chair at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE,) as it continues to operate in the state and contribute to its development.

Weli explained that the Professorial Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development was activated at FUPRE in December last year and is the latest of six established by SPDC JV, noting that the Chair at Effurun is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.

He added that in a bid to boost employment especially among youths, more than 700 young men and women have benefited from Shell’s LiveWIRE initiative between 2003 and 2017.

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