The Lagos State Government on Tuesday allayed fears of some residents on continuous heavy downpour being experienced in the state, assuring that necessary measures are in place to effectively manage the flash floods that comes with it.
The State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello who gave the assurance at a Press Briefing at Alausa, to explain measures already put in place for this year’s rainfall pattern, informed that additional heavy rainfall should be expected in July and September.
He urged all residents of low lying areas like Agboyi Ketu, Ajegunle and several others to relocate from their residence now and not wait until they are trapped in by the rainfalls which may even cost loss of lives in addition to damage to properties.
The commissioner also advised residents living along the plains of Ogun River to be on the alert and take necessary precautions as the Ogun Osun River Basin Authority which manages the Oyan River Dam will soon commence the seasonal water releases from the dam, stressing that the controlled water releases has become expedient as a result of weather forecast and the continuous heavy downpours.
In his words, “In July, Five million cubic meters (MCM) will be released while by August, they will release 8 to 10 million cubic meters. In September, it will be increased to 18 million cubic meters while in October 23million cubic meters will be released which is the peak. Then by November gradual reduction of water release to the tube will be 11million cubic meters”.
The commissioner noted that from the prediction of the Nigeria Meteorological Services NIMET, released early in the year, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events indicated that year 2020 will likely experience days with extremely high rainfall amounts which may result in flooding.
He stated State that the volume of rainfall would be very high in June as its being experienced now and will run into July and September, urging Lagosians not to entertain fears because the State Government has mapped out strategies to contain flooding that may be experienced as result of heavy rainfalls.
According to him, “the State Government is presently working on 222 secondary channels out of which 146 have been completed across the State just as 46 primary Channels are receiving attention presently in addition to the efforts of the Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs (EFAG) that are being deployed round the state to undertake quick fix to free manholes or clogged up drains manually”.
The Commissioner assured members of the public particularly residents of Aguda, Shomolu, Surulere, Oworonshoki and Idi Oro that contractors are already working on all the channels in the area stating that cleaning usually starts from the lower stream before it’s get to the upper stream and that the same applies in Aguda, were dredging is moving gradually and would reach all the areas adjourning LUTH Idi Araba and Ishaga which are all parts of System 6c.
Bello mentioned Idi-Oro and Olosha in Mushin as areas experiencing issues because of indiscriminate refuse dumping and assured that the ministry was taking steps to tackle the problem of refuse dumping frontally in the area so that the drainage channels can work effectively adding that eight people were arrested at Idi Araba a few days ago for dumping waste indiscriminately into the canal while it was raining and that they will be prosecuted.
He noted that government being aware of the reduced capacity of the Olusosun dumpsite and was in talk with the Ogun State Government for an alternative waste dumping site in Ogun State which can be jointly managed by the two states.
He sounded a note of warning to those engaging in these unwholesome acts to desist saying that the Ministry had empowered its environmental enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute sanitation offenders in the state.
Also speaking at the press briefing the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe said the issue of flooding was not only peculiar to Nigeria because other countries of the world also experience flooding during the raining season.
He mentioned that the situation where residents were allowed to erect shanties on drainage setbacks, dump refuse indiscriminately, block drainage channels and constitute nuisance to the neighborhood was unacceptable, stressing that the government would immediately enforce environmental laws to return to normalcy.
Igbokwe urged Lagosians to embrace the waste to wealth initiative of the state where pet bottles and styrofoam can be sorted in exchange for stipend adding that in coming days, a commercially viable option would be found for styro foams.
He also said that the State Government would not rest on its oars in ensuring that Lagosians inculcate the habit of regular maintenance of their immediate environment as doing so was our collective responsibility.
The Special adviser thereafter advised Lagosians to be safety conscious during this period and urged them to take some safety measures such as avoid going out during the rains except only when it is absolutely necessary as well as being conscious when driving and do not over speed, ensuring that vehicles are in good condition and avoid driving through flooded areas as it might be difficult to ascertain its depth.