By Kolade Larewaju, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS—PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has promised to make funds available immediately to the Lagos State government to find permanent solution to the menace of perennial flooding in parts of the state as a result of water from Oyo_Ogun basin.
The President also announced plans by his administration to adopt high technological method to combat future occurrences in Lagos and Nigeria in general, said that government would compensate victims of the flood.
Jonathan who was accompanied by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, his Ogun State counterpart, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Minister of the Environment, Mr. John Odey and top government officials from both states made the remarks while speaking to flood victims at Ajegunle community in Aboyi Ketu Local Council Development Area, LCDA of the state.
President Jonathan said the Federal Government would collaborate with the state on how the fund would be utilised and how relief materials will be distributed to the victims.
He said his visit to Ajegunle near Ikorodu was to see things for himself adding that he was at the scene of the flooded communities to get first hand information on how Federal Government can work with Lagos state to provide permanent solution to the yearly flood in the area.
The President said: “Federal Government will work with Lagos State to see what could be done. Your governor has briefed me while we are coming here and he has proposed a long term plan. We can no longer operate the way things are being done here. We cannot continue to relocate people every year, we must find lasting solution to the challenge.
“My purpose of coming is to listen to you and commiserate with you, those of you who have lost your property. Just like the environment commissioner noted, every September and October, you experience high water level and its normal, but this year’s is more than it used to be. My coming is to see things for myself and also with a team of NEMA to see how we can work with the state government to make sure that we see what we can do to ameliorate the situation and also address the issue of the yearly high water level.
“I would also plead with you that you should cooperate with the state government. But to address your present condition, the federal government is going to work with the Lagos state government to see what can be done in that regard.
“As for the immediate problem, the Federal Government is going to send a little assistance through the Lagos State government, and as you know, NEMA has also been directed to send relief materials to you, but aside that, we would also send something special this time around in terms of cash so that some of you who need to be assisted, would work with those in charge to see how we can manage the situation.
“But the most important thing that Fashola has been briefing me before we came and what he is suggesting is a long term plan. We cannot tell you that our system is to evacuate you every year, the world is changing and we can no longer live in those times. When I was small in my village, every year, we moved out because water would cover the road, and we would move to the centre, but that has stopped.”
The Baale of the community, Chief Omowole Ibrahim who spoke on behalf of the people of the area, explained that the community looked forward to infrastructure development in the area; pointing that if that portion of Ikorodu Road is raised up, flood would be a thing of the past in the area.
Chief Omowole urged President Jonathan to direct management of Ogun_Osun River Basin Authority that opened Oyan Dam which led to the water upsurge in Ikorodu to always open the dam as from February rather than late in the year.