The government of Emeka Ihedioha has blamed immediate past Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha after vehicles were submerged and business activities grounded following a flood triggered by a heavy downpour in Owerri, on Friday.
The downpour, which lasted over two hours, forced traders to lock up their shops and seek safety as a result of flooded streets.
The Bank Road, Mbari, Douglas, Akwakuma,Orji, Control Post and Item Street were the worst hit areas.
Reacting to the flood, Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, Steve Osuji, blamed it on eight years of environmental degradation by the government of Okorocha.
He said, “The problem is deep no doubt. Eight years of environmental degradation by (the) Rochas Okorocha (administration) left Imo a disaster zone. But the right men are on the job. The Owerri underground drainage master plan which was abandoned is being excavated. Soon Owerri shall be the cleanest again.”
Former spokesman of the 2019 Ihedioha Campaign, Kissinger Ikeokwu, in an article published on Facebook on Saturday, further bashed the former governor for reversing the gains made by ex-governor Ihedi Ohakim in sanitation.
He wrote, “Under Rochas ENTRACO, sanitation, waste management became worst. To compound the situation, the government embarked upon his failed urban renewal program without regards to the Owerri drainage system originally planned by the white expatriates.
“His refusal to engage technical experts to help channel the Owerri drainage to be in line with the Owerri city drainage management plan led to the blockage of major manholes and tunnels meant to collect and dispose water from the drainage into the Nworie River.”
Ikeokwu added, “Okorocha did not invest in Environmental sanitation and waste management. In a chat with the staff of the ENTRACO, they boldly revealed that the last time Imo state bought equipments like compactors, waste bins, bulldozers, trucks etc was under the Ohakim administration.
“The most disheartening is the report that the few bulldozers and pay-loaders, compactors in use by ENTRACO before the May 29th 2019 handover, all disappeared. The staff said two compactors under their service were also taken away by agents of the exiting government of Rochas Okorocha.
“The 27 bulldozers and Trucks procured by the Ohakim administration for all the 27 LGAs in Imo State are largely unaccounted for the trucks only but few can be seen.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ihedioha was spotted on Saturday personally supervising and partaking in the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.
Mr. Ihedioha assured that the flooding will be dealt with and the state will regain its status as the cleanest in the country.
The governor said, “One of the first programs of my administration was the GoGreenStayClean. We understand the importance of a clean environment. Aside the health benefits, it encourages commerce.
“We will open up all the drainage tunnels in Owerri to curb flooding in the city. Virtually all the drainage systems in Owerri are blocked, but I am happy to tell you that the ENTRACO Boss and his team have done a great job in desilting the drainage systems in some parts of the city. We will not stop until the issue of flooding in Owerri becomes a thing of the past.”
Ihedioha distributed refuse bins to Owerri residents.
Mr. Okorocha was yet to respond to a request for his comments as at the time of filing this report.