The The Vice Chancellor of the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, has lamented the impact of the raging flood on the university, saying the university premises have been submerged. He said that in one particular area of the institution, people could only get around by canoe, but management was considering online classes.
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, Edoumiekumo noted that the institution’s three main campuses; The Gloryland campus, the College of Health Sciences, both located on Wilberforce Island, Amasoma, and the Law School campus in Yenagoa, were inaccessible by road.
He said, “The university is overwhelmed and everywhere is affected. We use a canoe to get around part of the campus. It is at the new site (Faculty of Law) that certain places are raised and that they are not affected so much but that the road towards the university is cut off.
“You can’t even get there by road except by speedboat. When you get there by speedboat, you won’t have any land to walk on because the community of Amasoma is also submerged. The entire College of Health Sciences; the medical program is overwhelmed, we can’t even power it up right now, because if you do, it will cause electrocution.
He noted, however, that some students will have access to courses through the university’s online portal.
He said: “We can’t resume because of the floods, otherwise we would have started. But even at that, we made decisions. There are students who are going to take professional exams, so it cannot be said that because of the flood they should not prepare for their exams.
“For anyone taking professional exams, we have asked their provost to determine how they will be taught online. They will receive online lectures to prepare them for professional exams.
“We have an e-learning platform, we can’t just deploy the e-learning tool for all students because even teachers are affected by the flood and they may not be in the right frame of mind to do anything, especially when trying to see how safe their families can be.
While praising Governor Duoye Diri for paying staff salaries despite the flood, he lamented the disruption to their academic schedule.
Displaced N’Delta Communities
The Niger Delta Partnership Foundation initiative said more than 100 communities in the Niger Delta have been washed away by the floods, displacing around 7,000 families in the area.
He revealed this in formatted data on the P4P peace map, stating that during the recent flooding which started in August, more than 15 deaths were recorded in the area.
According to the group, as of October 12, the flood has killed four people and displaced more than 3,200 households in Delta State while several communities have been submerged in Bayelsa, Edo, Imo and Rivers states, displacing more than 3,800 families in the region.
“Historical and recent data show that the magnitude, intensity and duration of floods are increasing in the Niger Delta due to climate change. The recent catastrophic flooding was compounded by extreme weather events, including changes in rainfall patterns and the release of excess water from some dams,” the report said.
Meanwhile, a civil society group, Sustainability Pathways for Africa, has petitioned the federal government about the emergency.
The organizer, Chukwudi Njoku, in a petition posted on change.org called on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Nigeria Governors Forum and local government chairpersons to take action urgent with immediate effect.
“Adamawa Schools Affected”
In Adamawa State, records obtained from the State Emergency Management Agency in Yola indicate that 119 primary and secondary schools and 171,000 people in the state were displaced by flooding.
ADSEMA Executive Chairman Dr Suleiman Muhammad said the death toll had risen from 25 in September to 71, and he feared the floods could trigger food insecurity.
According to reports, of the 119 primary and secondary schools affected, 88 schools were completely overrun by the floods.
Suleiman said: “The number of displaced people stands at over 171,000 as the floods have devastated and disrupted the livelihoods of many families. But most worrying is the destruction of agricultural land which, if left unchecked, will lead to food insecurity.
Obi visits Bayelsa
Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi visited Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State on Saturday to sympathize with him over the devastating impact of the flooding.
He and his team were received at Government House in Yenagoa by the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and some senior government officials. He then proceeded to the displaced persons camp at Oxbow Lake in the state capital.
Obi, who said he was shocked by the extent of the flood damage, called on the federal government and well-meaning organizations to help the state.
Atiku’s Tuesday Tour
People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar said he would begin a tour of states facing an immense incidence of floods across the country on Tuesday.
A statement from his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said the tour would start from Bayelsa State. He added: “Therefore, the visits will offer the presidential candidate the opportunity to have a sight assessment of the impact of these floods and give him a real window to integrate these ecological concerns into his political documents.
The statement recalled that Atiku had supported flood victims in Jigawa, Yobe and Kano states.
The navy intervenes
The Nigerian Navy has said it will continue to deploy its men and resources to provide security and humanitarian services along the flooded sections of the east-west road until the flood waters recede. The flood had cut off the East-West road, especially around the Okogbe-Ihiuke-Ahoada axis.
The Base Information Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh, Second Lieutenant Tochukwu Okeke, under Yenagoa Central Naval Command, said so in an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday.
He said the navy was transporting people and goods between Yenagoa and Port Harcourt and carrying out medical interventions.