The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo -Olu on Thursday received the Presidential Technical Committee for the development of a comprehensive plan of action for preventing flood disasters in Nigeria, urging the FG to dredge major rivers in Nigeria.
Receiving the committee on behalf of Mr. Governor, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello said the time has come for the Federal Government to ensure the dredging of major rivers nationwide.
He called for more collaboration between Federal and State agencies towards ensuring that the incidences of major flooding incidences are reduced to the barest minimum.
He added that dredging the major rivers will reduce the vulnerability of coastal states to flooding issues as experienced by many States last year.
He said that Federal Government should take cognizance that river Niger, Benue, and Ogun among others over flow to states close to them once they rise.
He said Lagos State Government has a proper Primary and Secondary Drainage masterplan in place to curtail the issue from time to time.
He added that from the beginning of every year, the Government engages in serious public enlightenment/education across the state after receiving yearly rainfall predictions from the Nigeria Institute of Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Service.
He said the state usually organizes media briefings before the rainy season, alerting the public about rainfall patterns and urging people living in low-lying and depressed areas to relocate to safer areas.
He explained that Lagos State Government usually embarks on a comprehensive all-year-round cleaning and maintenance dredging of drainage channels, and canals as well as constructing new drainages.
He noted that Lagos despite its peculiarities as a coastal state with low-lying terrains and a high population density among others was recorded flash flooding because of various measures put in place by the government.
The leader of the Presidential Technical Committee, Dr. Godstime James explained that the Committee was established by the presidency following the flooding incidences that were recorded in the country in the year 2021.
He said the Committee is to check each State’s policies on flooding, establish causes of flooding and come up with solutions and strategies to minimize the impact on the citizenry.
James said the Committee was divided into the six geo-political zones of the country, adding that two States were selected per zone while adopting the bottom-to-top approach where each State of the federation will be listened to as well as the local communities in the flood-affected areas.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde said Lagos had always executed plans to ensure that the State does not experience flooding based on the awareness that the State is always affected by coastal, river, and urban flooding.
He noted that in the year 2022 Lagos mildly experienced flooding and this was achieved through the measures and policies put in place by the Ministry.
He appealed for a better synergy between Lagos State and the Federal Government to ensure that flooding is controlled with little or no impact on the people of Lagos.