Ekiti, Ondo, Osun assure residents of proactive measures to mitigate flooding

The governments of Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states have taken proactive measures to avert flooding and the possible loss of lives and properties, an investigation indicates.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had warned of heavy rains and flooding in parts of the country including Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states in year 2023.

A survey conducted in the three states, however, indicates that measures have been taken to mitigate flooding.

The governments have embarked on channelisation projects, construction of drains on roads, dredging of streams and waterways, destilting and clearing of drains, and even demolition of buildings and stalls on waterways in efforts to prevent flooding.

Mr Kolade Okeya, the Director, Ekiti State Environmental Protection Agency (EKSEPA), in an interview in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, said that the government since the beginning of the year had begun taking proactive measures to prevent any incidence of flooding in major towns in the state.

He said  that the government was concerned about the challenges usually associated with the rainy season, most especially as the rains started early this year.

Okeya said that the state had been alerted by NiMet to possible flooding in three local government areas in the state, namely: Ado-Ekiti, Ikerre-Ekiti and Irepodun-Ifelodun .

The official said that, consequently, the government had organised programmes including the use of jingles on radio to sensitise inhabitants of flood prone communities to relocate to safer locations without delay.

A geologist, Mr Ayo Omotosho, however, attributed the increasing incidents of flooding in many parts of Nigeria to human factors.

“Flooding in Nigeria is mainly human induced by residents’ day to day activities and disregard of the ecosystem.”

He said that flooding can be controlled through proper urban planning, maintaining a balance of the ecosystem and provision of adequate environmental infrastructures.

Omotosho appealed to all Nigerians to take environmental issues more seriously, and avoid any practice or habits that could disrupt the balance of the ecosystem.

Also, Chairman of Ikole Local Government Area, Mr Sola Olominu, said his administration had begun clearing and destilting drains to avoid flooding.

He disclosed that his administration was committed to keeping the drains and the general environment in the LGA clean and deploys environmental health officers to communities to ensure residents maintain good hygiene and sanitation.

Olominu said that consequences would be meted out to anybody or household caught dumping waste in the drains or waterways.

In Ondo State, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Sunday Akinwalere, said that the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led government has left no stone unturned to ensure that residents of the state are adequately protected against flooding.

Akinwalere, in an interview in Akure, the state capital, explained that the preventive measures were backed up with good funding.

According to him, the state had only one excavator before the coming of the current administration, but the number of excavators has increased to three, one in each senatorial district of the state.

He disclosed that some local government areas in the state have been listed for ecological intervention by World Bank.

Akinwalere, who explained that the state had paid its counterpart funds, said that work would commence in such local government areas soon.

The commissioner stated that the government was also in talks with some international agencies with a view to combating climate change challenges in the state.

“We are in talk with some international agencies as regard effects of climate change in the state and Mr Governor has approved all related committees,” he said.

Akinwalere, therefore, appealed to residents of the state to be wary of the way they used the environment, saying that they should manage  their waste properly .

Also, the Secretary, Ondo State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Femi Obideyi, said that the government had initiated programmes to prevent flooding through dredging of flood prone areas such as Eyin Ala, FUTA area and Oba Ile.

Obideyi explained that government had deployed three amphibian excavators to low land water areas to mitigate the effect of flooding

He said that part of efforts adopted to prevent flooding in the state was the sensitisation of residents on the dangers of dumping of refuse in waterways.

Similarly, Mr Oladele Olawuni, the  Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, said the Osun State Government has embarked on dredging of not less than 25 streams and rivers across the state to ensure free flow of water.

“Last year, we were informed by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet) that Osun is likely to be prone to flooding this year (2023) from their forecast.

“Immediately we got the information,  we started working to combat and prevent flooding in the state.

“A memo was written to the governor about the flood alert and we got his approval and funds to start work towards preventing and controlling flood in the state.” he said.

Olawuni said that the Director of Flood Control in the state was currently on site, supervising the dredging of the waterways, streams and rivers.

“We have mobilised and embarked on dredging of rivers and water channels in the state

“Rivers in Osogbo, Ogbagba, Odeomu and Ife have been dredged and presently we are dredging rivers in Iwo town.

The permanent secretary said most residents lack the culture of keeping and disposing their wastes properly.

Olawuni said that residents were in the habit of  throwing their wastes in rivers and streams, with the mind set that the water would carry the waste away.

He said this always resulted in the blockage of the water flow and caused flooding.

Olawuni said that in order to tackle the challenge, government had provided waste containers at strategic points in the metropolis to promote proper waste disposal in the state.

Speaking in the same vein, Dr Abiodun Olanipekun, the Head of Building Department,  Faculty of Environmental Design and Management, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), advised government to enforce infractions of Urban and Planning Laws

Olanipekun, who frowned at thr manner people carelessly build houses on water ways, said “there is urgent need to put a stop to such attitude in the society.”

He appealed to government to be proactive in ensuring that all the streams are dredged across the state to prevent flooding that could lead to loss of lives and property.

“Dredging is necessary at times to reduce volume of water on the surface and dumping of refuse in streams and waterways should be prohibited.

“Town planners should also rise up to the challenge and should not allow the building of structures on waterways.”

(FROM: EnviroNews)

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