By SAM JONES
YENAGOA (Sundiata Post) – Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has expressed support for town planning efforts in the state.
Diri also called for support from residents of the state capital, Yenagoa and other parts of the state in curbing future disasters due to floods.
Diri, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, at a three-day summit organised by the Physical Planning and Development Board (PPDB) on Tuesday in Yenagoa also warned against acquiring and property on natural water channels.
He said the move would curb future flood occurance in the state and further destruction of property as well as loss of human lives to the annual menace.
The summit with the theme: ‘Physical Planning And Development in Bayelsa State: The Way Forward’, has attracted the attention of town planners, architects and builders as well policy makers across the state.
The governor decried the level of destruction in the state during the rampaging flood in the state last October stressing that support by the residents was necessary to mitigate the negative effects of the flood.
He called for the formation of town planning committees in all the communities in the state to liase with the board on acquisition of lands and development of structures in order to keep the natural waterways free of any obstruction.
Diri lamented that with the way people are building in the state, if there is fire incident, the level of damage will be very enormous than the last flooding, because fire fighters may not be able to access most areas for rescue.
He said: “The flood was a disaster itself, but it’s management has become a doom for us, so I want to encourage all of us who are developers not to buy our water bodies.
“This is where the physical planning board has to be very firm, because right now, if those water bodies are still there, water that comes from rain will go and settle there without overflowing to the residential areas.
“We need a special study of Yenagoa environment because of its unique nature; when people sell land and even sell the road, that is no longer good.
“Each community should now have town planning committee, that will ensure that building of structures are being regulated in their respective Communities, we have to free our water bodies for easy movement of water to get our state free of flooding,” he said.
Chairman, Bayelsa State Physical Planning And Development Board, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, said the board is afraid that when conscious efforts are not made to match rapid economic development with comprehensive planning and regulatory controls, there is bound to be increase in traffic congestion.
Ekeuwei also expressed concern over increased crime rate, squatter settlements, poor waste management and attendant flooding, environmental degradation and outbreak of epidemics among others.
According to him, the monster flood that recently visited the state and its attendant human fatalities, wide-scale destruction ofproperties and incalculable post-traumatic stress disorders that came with it was worrisome.
He said the board as the institution statutorily empowered to provide the framework for deliberate spatial planning, has to brace up to the challenges by ensuring that all manmade causes of flooding is mitigated.