Flood alert: Govt urges wetland dwellers to relocate, elevate

L-R: MD/CEO Ogun Osun River Basin Development Authority, Engr Oluremi Odumosu; Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Hon. Kayode Akinmade; Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Sam Ogunleye at the press conference on flood alert … on Tuesday

By Nudoiba Ojen

OGUN State Government, on Tuesday urged residents on wetland areas to relocate to safer ground before the rain begins fully.

The rain according to the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) will begin from March and end in December, 2024 with an average rainy period of 239 days and an average precipitation of 1786.5mm, affecting 16 out of the 20 local government areas of the state.

The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ola Oresanya, who made this known in Abeokuta during the year 2024 Ogun State Flood Alert in conjunction with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA), also said that local government areas such as Imeko-Afon, Odeda, Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South would experience the lowest rainfall.

The commissioner, while noting that people who are located in the hilly areas are going to experience erosion as a result of the speed of the water, called for calm as the state government is putting measures in place to cushion the effects of the expected heavy rainfall.

He said, “It is either you relocate from the area or you elevate; may be you want to reconstruct your house or do some kind of elevation if you must stay in that area. Every year, we talk about relocation. It is not easy to relocate. If you must live in those areas, make sure that your electronics, your chairs, whatever can be damaged is being elevated.

“When we talk about relocation and elevation, it is going to be predominantly around this area. People leaving within the wetland of the state are supposed to prepare for this increase in the height of the water because we are going to have a retention of this lockdown around this period.

“So, people who are located in the hill areas are going to have some kind of erosion because of the speed the water will take in running down around the Ilaro area and some areas in Ota. We are going to have what we call erosion that is going to accompany this kind of flooding for the year.

“The other areas that we will have the impact which is later on are people that are leaving within the wetland of the state and the wetland area are predominantly Southern parts of the state and these are almost flat land, low line land because this are the border towns between Lagos and Ogun State,” he said.

Oresanya also said that the state government is set to complement its various efforts at addressing the menace of flooding with the construction of 2,975.6m length of drainage channels and mini-bridges/culverts and the desilting and clearing of 56.150m length of river across the state.

“The state government wishes to complement its efforts in addressing the menace of flooding by the construction of 2,975.6m length of drainage channels and mini bridges/culverts, desilt and clear 56.159m length of river/stream courses and desilt 40,000m length of drainage channels across the three senatorial districts of the state.

“Some of the areas include construction of drainage channels and culverts at Wesley Primary School, Ijebu-Ode; reconstruction of dilapidated culvert at Saje Dumpsite road; Apakila (Abeokuta); Igbosoro (Ogijo, Sagamu), Imasai, desilting of rivers/stream courses at Yemile (Ijebu-Ode); Sensen river (Sagamu), Onibuku (Ota); Odo-funfun (Oja-Odan), Opa Aro (Isheri), Sokori river and tributaries while desilting of drainages channel will take place at Abeokuta, Ifo, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Ilaro, Ota among others,” he said

The commissioner, who noted that the length of the raining season for the coastal areas ranges between 250 to 292 days while that of inland areas is between 200 to 250 days, encouraged farmers to start planting.

He urged fish farmers to harvest before the peak of the raining season in July and advised poultry farmers against stocking density during the period, which started two months back.

Oresanya also called on the people of the state to apply for ‘drainage permit’ before constructing their drainages.

This, he said, would ensure that drainages have the right elevation for the passage of water.

The drainage permit, he added, will guide residents against building on flood plains and wetlands unknowingly during the dry season.

In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of OORBDA Engr Olufemi Odumosu, said that OORBDA has been holistic while focusing on the structural measures for flood control.

According to him, Oyan Dam has been responsible for the supply of bulk water to Ogun and Lagos states, irrigation infrastructure for agriculture, flood control, hydro power generation potentials, researches and transportation as well as tourism which he said is yet to be fully tapped.

Odumosu mulled the need for collaboration between OORBDA and the Ogun State government in the area of tourism, saying that the partnership would help to generate more revenue.

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