The Lagos State Government has reassured residents that irrespective of the new advisory issued by the Nigerian Metrological Services (NIMET) on rainfall and flash flooding, adequate measures are in place to contain any eventuality.
Addressing the media in Alausa about the preparedness for heavy rainfalls, which resume in September, and the release of water from the Oyan Dam, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the capacity of primary and secondary drains have been enhanced through consistent cleaning and clearing to contain runoffs.
The Commissioner said, “A practical demonstration of our preparedness was the over 10 hours of rainfall experienced in Lagos on July 19, which resulted in flooding that submerged some houses and vehicles, especially in Marina, but which had disappeared the next morning, eight to 10 hours after.”
He explained that the same level of preparedness is in place despite the advisory by the management of Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority on the release of water from the Oyan Dam in September.
Bello informed that Lagos State will maintain the long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, which has ensured the steady and systematic release of water from Oyan Dam, to prevent flooding of the downstream communities.
His words: “We are stepping up the dredging and cleaning of all our channels and would also use the opportunity to once again urge the residents of low-lying areas to be alert and ready to move when the rain of unusual intensity falls”.
He advised residents of areas along the river banks such as Agiliti, Ajegunle, Isheri North, Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota and Shibiri etc to remain cautious.
The Commissioner said: “All residents of the listed areas must be at alert and relocate to higher grounds to save their lives and property when water is released by Oyan Dam authorities. For such people, they can always return to their abode when the water subsides.”
“Let me give an assurance to all residents that the proactive stance of the Ministry has always been ‘Be ready always’. We have always treated the nine months of March to November as peak months of rainfall in our preparations. That is why we can never be caught napping”, Bello assured.
He stated further that one major contributory factors to possible flooding is the rise in sea level due to the coastal nature of the State, adding that this has always posed risks to the State anytime there is high a tidal movement which may “lock-up” the discharge points of the drainage channels until it recedes.
While appealing to residents to report cases of drainage blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorised places, Bello implored the people to continue to complement efforts of the State Government through the regular clearing of drains in the frontage of their premises.
He urged the public to desist from patronising cart pushers as they are responsible for dumping waste into canals at night after collecting money from residents for services rendered.
The Commissioner averred that the State Government recently commissioned 102 Trucks and 100 Dino Bins so that PSP operators can serve residents in all LGA and LCDAs better, adding that residents are free to report PSP operators in their areas when they perform below expectation.
He disclosed that the Government is working on a “Plastic Waste Policy”, to tackle the waste problems caused by plastics and styrofoam.
The Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde, in his contribution, implored the people of Lagos to support the government effort through regular cleaning of the drainages in front of their houses.