in the GRA area of Benin City, Edo State capital, can now sleep with their eyes closed as the flooding that ravaged the area since the beginning of the rainy season has been brought to a halt.

The Nigerian Observer can confirm that the clogged gutters which were partly responsible for the flooding have been cleared allowing free flow of rainwater and, according to the residents, the volume of water on the road especially during downpour has reduced.

Before the residents hired workers to clear the gutters, the gutters were filled with heaps of sand and garbage because some residents had the bad habit of disposing materials in the gutters.

“Water used to flow everywhere, even into shops and houses, because the gutters were blocked,” said a resident of Ugbor who gave her name as Miss Grace.

“Many people have a bad habit of disposing solid materials on the road, or in the gutter, so when the rain falls heavily as we are witnessing now, it spells trouble, because the rubbish that is dropped on the road flows into the gutter, plus the one already there, adding to the sandy nature of the environment. The gutter gets full, and the water that is supposed to flow away gets stuck and begins to flood the roads and the area in general,” she said.

Another respondent, Mr Osarobo, however, attributed the initial flood problem to the shallowness of the gutters.

“There are gutters, yes, but compared to the volume of water as a result of the constant downpour, the gutters are not deep enough,” Osarobo said.

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“But the fact that people use dirt to block the gutter also worsens the whole situation,” he further stated.

A homeowner in the area who preferred to remain anonymous told the reporter that the gutters were usually cleared periodically with money contributed by residents.

“We contribute from time to time, though not mandatory, but we try to maintain the environment as we cannot wait for government to do everything for us,” the person said.

“People always blame the fact that people throw dirt away anyhow, but that is not the major problem because the area is naturally sandy, and because of day-to-day activities, sand gathers along the road. When rain comes, the sand is naturally flushed into the gutters which become full and causes water logging; I will not call it flooding because it is not up to that,” he said.

Other respondents, such as Miss Blessing, Mr Tony and a trader, Mrs Omonor, all explained that the initial situation they faced in the environment at the start of the flood was no longer the case as the clearing of the gutter had brought down the level of waterlogging in the area.

They also urged residents of the area to adopt a new habit of disposing garbage properly and in reasonable locations for the Edo State Waste Management Agency to take care of.