<!– L-R: Chairman, South West Governor’s Forum and Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu; his Counterparts from Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti and Oyo States, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola; Prince Dapo Abiodun; Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Mr. Seyi Makinde –>
Following the recent alert by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) warning Nigerians of imminent flooding, many state governments are now putting in place measures to protect lives and properties.
The NIHSA, the agency responsible for issuing flood alerts in Nigeria, had accused state governments of failing to heed its previous warnings on floods released earlier this year.
But investigation indicates a new resolve by states in the southwest Zone to address more frontally the challenge of flooding and the annual loss of lives and properties.
In Ondo State, the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu administration has vowed that it would start demolishing structures built on waterways.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, said this after inspecting the recent damage caused by flooding in many parts of the state.
Flood had washed away 600 hectares of rice farms in Eleyowo, Ogbese and some other towns in Akure North Local Government Area.
373 rice farmers under the auspices of the Federated FADAMA Rice Association, had pooled resources to cultivate the rice farms
The group’s Coordinator, Mr Olayinka Labiran, said that the rice farms were expected to be harvested in October.
According to him, each of the farmers had at least one hectare of land acquired after obtaining loans from the Bank of Agriculture under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
He said there was no hope of salvaging the rice because the farms had been completely submerged.
No fewer than 10 houses and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed by flood in different parts of Idanre Local Government Area of the state recently.
Ajayi, however, pledged that the state government would assist victims with relief materials while an amphibious excavator would be deployed to help channel waterways.
In Ogun, the state government has commenced the construction and rehabilitation of some roads in the states to ensure drainage systems were put in place to check flooding.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun, while on inspection tour of the Ashafa-Oke and Dehun roads, explained that when completed, the roads would go a long way in solving the challenges of perennial flooding in Ijebu-Ode.
“These roads here are roads that have accounted for a lot of flooding in Ijebu Ode area because of poor drainage facility.
“That is why we have focused on starting from here and once we are able to ensure that these roads are properly constructed with the right drainages, then we would have solved about 60 percent of the issue of perennial flooding in Ijebu Ode.
“The rehabilitation work we are doing is not limited to Ijebu-Ode alone, work is also going on in Sagamu, Ado-Odo/Ota which are also flood-prone areas in the state,” he said.
The Director of Flood in Ogun Ministry of Environment, Mr Ismail Adenuga however, stressed that there would be need for complete re-engineering of the drainage system of Ijebu-Ode to check the problem of flooding in the town in particular.
According to him, the state government will need ecological funds from the Federal Government for such a project.
The state government had nonetheless pledged to continue to assist victims of flood disasters with adequate relief materials.
The Director of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Olufolarin Ige, told NAN in Abeokuta that government was committed to ameliorating the sufferings of flood victims.
Ige noted that the damage from the recent flooding in the state was extensive, adding that the National Emergency Management Agency would be involved for adequate support.
In Osun, the state government had also pledged to take proactive measures to tackle the flooding that had ravaged some parts of the state.
Heavy rainfall in the state in the past few days had led to a rise in the volume of water in Osun river in Osogbo, the state capital.
As a result, many residents living close to the river bank had been displaced while properties worth millions of naira had been destroyed.
Some of the areas affected by flood were Gbodofon, Awosuru, Onitodunu Baruwa, Idowu Ajibola, Ibu-Amo and Oke Arungbo Estate.
Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, however, promised that his administration would further dredge the Osun River as part of comprehensive measures to tackle flooding in the state.
He urged residents living in flood-prone areas in the state to be vigilant by taking necessary precautions to avoid loss of lives and properties.
Oyetola, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, said: “ this admonition is as a result of the torrential rainfall in the state that resulted in the overflow of Osun River during which some areas within the state capital were flooded.”
The Ekiti Government, on its part, has commenced the execution of palliative measures to mitigate the grief of flood victims.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Abiodun Oyebanji, said no fewer than 200 students of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, affected by the flooding were the first set to benefit from government’s intervention.
He added that efforts were on reach out to others while also seeking measures to proffer lasting solution to the recurrent flooding in the state.
No fewer than 410 persons had been affected in recent flooding incidents while properties worth millions of naira had been destroyed.
Some of the communities ravaged by flood due to several days of downpour included Ikere Ekiti, Ado Ekiti, Emure Ekiti, Ifaki Ekiti, Ikole Ekiti and Ise Ekiti.
In Oyo State, the establishment of the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) is helping to address flooding, especially in Ibadan which has many flood planes.
The state had not witnessed any serious incident of flooding in any part of the state since the commencement of the current rainy season.
Mr Jonathan Adekunle, an official of the State Ministry of Environment, attributed the development to the proactive initiatives taken by the state government.
He said the ready support of the state government in the implementation of IUFMP and other ongoing intervention projects in the state was having positive impacts and making the state flood-free.
Adekunle also said the sensitisation campaign being carried out by the Ministry of Environment to provide residents with prior alerts about impending flood disasters and the need to clear drains and make waterways free was having positive impacts.
According to him, the workshops being organised by the ministry and related organisations had also contributed to change the narrative of incessant flood disasters in the state.
He gave an assurance that government was on red alert to take proactive steps to ensure that the entire state was protected against flood disasters.
The Kwara Government has also vowed that houses close to river banks and flood-prone areas as well as those built on waterways would be demolished.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Environment, Alhaji Amosa Al-Amin, said this in Ilorin while responding to the flood ravaging many parts of the country.
He said some areas in Ilorin as well as in five other local governments in the state had been identified as flood-prone.
The ministry, he added, had commenced enlightenment campaign to educate residents on the danger in dropping refuse inside drains and waterways, especially during rainfall.
He appealed to communities located in and near flood plains and other vulnerable areas to relocate to safer locations.
Flood in Odota, a suburb of Ilorin, last week ravaged more than 200 houses, rendering no fewer than 1,000 residents homeless.
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