Oyo State Alerts Of Impending Flood, Urges Precautionary Measures

Yemisi Izuora

The Oyo State Government, on Wednesday, urged residents of the state, especially those in flood-prone local government areas, to take precautionary measures in respect of the flood alert from the administration.

The state government, which spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, stated that every necessary step must be taken to avoid disaster.

According to her, to forestall flooding and its attendant effects, residents of the state, especially those in Ona Ara, Lagelu, Oyo East, Kajola, Egbeda, Ogbomoso South, Iseyin, Ibarapa North, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North-West and Ibadan South-East Local Government Areas, are required to clear surrounding and street drain channels and avoid dumping wastes improperly.

“It is even of paramount importance that our people should take necessary precautions during heavy rainfall or in the event of flooding. People living in houses built along floodplains should relocate to safer places, avoid the use of low bridges and culverts when the rain is persistent, and whenever there is rainfall, people should avoid staying under high tension electricity installations,”she said.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the SSG as adding that residents must also ensure “that each household keeps a dustbin and patronizes government-approved waste disposal contractors, avoid building on floodplains, obtain building approvals from relevant statutory bodies before commencing building, among others.”

Mrs. Adeosun stated that as part of efforts to put an end to the menace of flooding in the state, the government has given its full backing to the total implementation of the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, ( IUFMP), the state-owned flood risk mitigation project with funding and technical assistance from the World Bank.

She noted that the project has constructed ultramodern hydraulic structures at 17 locations in Ibadan as well as construction of extensive drains/adjoining roads to the structures, adding that the rehabilitation of the 78-year-old Eleyele Dam recently commissioned by the governor is also part of the efforts to contain flooding.

According to the SSG, the warning alert became imperative following the Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) and Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP) released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) respectively, which, she said, signposted the state among those prone to some extent of flooding in 2020.

She said: “Earlier this year, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had released their Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) and Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP) respectively, both of which pinpointed Oyo State among the states that are prone to some extent of flooding in the Year 2020. The reports went further to outline the specific local government areas likely to experience flooding, which in the case of Oyo State include Ona Ara, Lagelu, Oyo East, Kajola, Egbeda, Ogbomoso South, Iseyin, Ibarapa North, Ibadan South-West, Ibadan North-West, and Ibadan South-East.

“More recently  in June 2020, a follow-up correspondence was done to the Office of His Excellency by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), charging our state to intensify its flood risk mitigating measures ahead of the predicted heavy downpours.

“The vulnerability of Ibadan and some other towns in Oyo State to river and urban flooding is induced by our towns’ topographic terrain; the problem of indiscriminate waste disposal and building of houses on flood plains.

“There is the tendency that the foregoing could even be aggravated by the universal menace of global warming and climate change.

“It is in the light of this that the government of the day in Oyo State has given its full backing to the full implementation of the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, the state-owned flood risk mitigation project with funding and technical assistance from the World Bank.

“Under this Project, the highly capacious ultramodern hydraulic structures constructed at 17 different locations of the Ibadan Metropolis, complemented by the extensive drains and approach/adjoining roads to them, are already completed and functional, thus helping to rid those hitherto flood-ravaged areas of incessant flooding and the attendant calamities that came in its wake.

“On a larger scale, processing of the proposed channelization of major rivers and water channels in Ibadan under the IUFMP scheme, is at an advanced stage, with some of the works already awarded to reputable contractors. This implies that major water courses in Ibadan like Ona, Ogbere, Orogun, Kudeti, Agodi Channel, etc. will soon undergo major channelization which, when completed, would boost the runoff draining capacity of the city.

“Beyond the massive hydraulic interventions listed above, the Oyo State Government has revved up the machinery of averting the predicted flooding across all the cities, towns and villages of Oyo State. As we speak, a comprehensive Radio and Television campaign is running on some major channels in the state, the thrust of which message is to enjoin our people to clear neighbourhood drains, avoid improper waste dumping, shun building on waterways, move out of flood-prone areas, avoid wading into flooded spots, etc.

“Also, earlier today, a Multi Stakeholders’ Meeting was held in this same location to galvanize stakeholders from some of the identified LGAs, LCDAs, Communities, as well as relevant MDAs and other regulatory agencies on their roles and responsibilities towards this new charge. That way, we will be able to present a common front and jointly avert another crisis within a pandemic.

“May I now use the opportunity presented by this forum to charge our people, both individually and collectively, to take the flood advisories to heart and commit wholeheartedly to their messages. We are required now, more than ever before, to clear our surrounding and street drain channels, avoid dumping wastes improperly, ensure that each household keeps a dustbin and patronizes government-approved waste disposal contractors, avoid building on floodplains, obtain building approvals from relevant statutory bodies before commencing building, among others.

“It is even of paramount importance that our people should take necessary precautions during heavy rainfall or in the event of flooding. People living in houses built along floodplains should relocate to safer places, avoid the use of low bridges and culverts when the rain is persistent, and whenever there is rainfall, people should avoid staying under high tension electricity installations.

“As a responsible government, the Engr. Seyi Makinde administration cares about the safety of the lives and property of our citizens and would not want them to suffer avoidable losses.”

The government called on all media houses in the state, which it noted are critical stakeholders and co-partners for development, to make dissemination of warning messages on flooding part of their daily routine, to safeguard the state from calamities, saying “the situation at hand demands our proactive response and collaborative effort.”

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