The Ogun State Government, on Sunday, vowed to demolish structures obstructing waterways in order to prevent recurrence of flooding in parts of the state.
It also promised to continue dredging of rivers to give way for free flow of water.
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The Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun stated this during the inspection of areas and places affected by the flood that ravaged Abeokuta, the state capital, on Saturday.
Flood wreaked havoc in Abeokuta following heavy downpour for many hours on Saturday.
A number of areas within the Abeokuta metropolis were hugely affected by the flooding, as houses at the bank of the river were submerged.
A portion of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library’s fence was pulled down, a bridge linking Ijeja and Igboore was cut off, while many houses were flooded at Isale Igbehin, near the Government House.
Affected areas also include; Kuto, Isale -Igbein, Lanfewa, Amolaso, Ijeun-Titun, Ago -Ijesa, Abiola way, Isale Abetu, Sokori, Igbore, Oke Mosan and Isale Make area, all in Abeokuta South and North local government areas.
Our correspondent, who went round the state capital, observed that property worth millions of naira were destroyed while a number of residents were displaced.
While the rain lasted for hours, a number of vehicles were trapped in the flood, while streams and rivers were filled to the brim.
What Osinbajo said
In July 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited some of the areas in the state capital following the effects of flooding that destroyed property and claimed eight lives.
Osinbajo promised the federal government’s intervention to avert recurrence.
When our correspondent visited Amolaso and Isale Igbehin, residents were seen packing their goods out of the flooded houses and shops.
While counting their loses, a number of residents, who spoke with our correspondent, lamented the recurrence of the flood disaster despite government’s promises.
A young man, who simply identified himself as Rasheed, said: “This has been happening for many years.
“I wondered why government has not found solution to it.
“Vice President was here in 2018.
“The Deputy Governor, Engr Noimot Salako – Oyedele, equally visited this area recently and made promises.
“I think it’s high time government solved this problem.
“For every rainy season, people have to live in fear of flooding. It’s that bad.”
A beer parlour operator at Amolaso, Mrs Blessing Eze, lamented that all her goods had been swept away by the flood and urged government to provide succour to cushion the effects of the loss.
“I went to the market to buy some goods.
“When it was raining, I had to stay somewhere in the market, but when I returned, this is what I met, everywhere flooded.
“I urge government to please, come to our aid,” she said.
‘Human activities causing flooding’
Inspecting the affected areas on Sunday, Abudu-Balogun, in company of the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, TPL Tunji Odunlami, attributed human activities such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse on water ways as one of the factors responsible for the flooding.
Areas visited by the state government’s team include; Ijeja; Amolaso; Isale-Igbein; Ori-Omi, Sokori among others.
“As a government, we are going to take a decisive step to ensure that residents comply with environmental laws.
“We are happy that no life was lost yesterday (Saturday).
“We will ensure that corrections are made to forestall annual recurrence of this natural disaster.
“We have seen the extent of the damage done by the flooding.
“We will continue to dredge canals in the state to allow for free passage of water.
“The effect of human activities, that is building on water ways and indiscriminate dumping of refuse inside stream and rivers are factors responsible for what we are seeing here.
“We can all see the devastating effect that these have caused.”
Odunlami expressed the regrets of the Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration on the unfortunate incident, saying despite sensitisation, many residents still encroached on water paths.
He hinted that government will demolish houses obstructing water ways, while advising people living along river channels to vacate their places of abode to a safe place.
“Demolition is the last resort.
“If 500 lives is being affected by one structure due to human error, definitely such building will have to give way in the interest of the public.
“It is government’s responsibility to secure lives and property,” the commissioner added.