The Lagos State Government 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 the State Government, 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 also called for more collaboration between Federal and State agencies towards ensuring that the major flooding incidents are reduced to the barest minimum, adding that dredging the major rivers will also reduce the vulnerability of coastal states to flooding issues as experienced by many States last year.
Bello averred that the Federal Government should take cognisance that River Niger, Benue and Ogun among others over overflow to states close to them once they rise. He said Lagos State Government has a proper Primary and Secondary Drainage master plan in place to curtail the issue from time to time.
The Commissioner informed that at 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 Nigerian Hydrological Service.
He said the state usually organises 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.
According to him, the State Government also embarks on a comprehensive all-year-round cleaning and maintenance dredging of drainage channels and canals and 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, records flash flooding because of various measures put in place by the government.
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.
While noting that the minor flooding experienced by Lagos State in the year 2022 was due to the measures and policies put in place by the Ministry, Shodeinde, however, appealed for a better synergy between the Lagos State and the federal Government to ensure that flooding is controlled with little or no impact to the people of Lagos.
The leader of the Presidential Technical Committee, Dr. Godstime James explained that the Committee was established by the Presidency following the flooding that was recorded in the country in the year 2021.
He disclosed that the Committee is to check each State’s policies on flooding, establish causes of flooding and come up with solutions and strategies to minimise the impact on the citizenry.
James said the Committee was divided into the country’s six geo-political zones, adding that two States were selected per zone. He stated further that the Committee has adopted the bottom-to-top approach where representatives of each State of the federation will be engaged as well as the local communities in the flood-affected areas.