By Adeola Badru
IBADAN-FOLLOWING the Tuesday heavy rainstorm that wreaked havoc in some parts of Oyo State, the state government has warned residents living close to flood-prone areas to vacate the places pending the period the current heavy rains would recede to avoid loss of lives and valuable property to the flood.
The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Kehinde Ayoola gave the warning when he and officials from the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, (IUFMP) on Wednesday visited some areas where the heavy downpour that lasted for several hours ravaged some places.
It has been established that certain actions aggravate flooding such as dumping of wastes on river channels and waterways and such acts lead to blockage of drainage and river channels.
The areas where the rivers and streams overflowed their banks in Ibadan include Ogundipe and Arikemase community at Olodo area of Egbeda Local Government in Ibadan.
According to him, a good number of buildings in those areas were erected on waterways and road setbacks, especially in the flood-prone areas, warning that it would not be business as usual anymore.
“It would be recalled that during the last workshop programme on flood forecast, early warning service and implementation, it was categorically stated that Oyo State was likely to experience flooding this September due to the climate change, hence the need for residents living in such flood-prone areas to vacate immediately so as to avert loss of lives and properties.”
“The forecast has come to reality and you could see the level of the water of rivers and streams in the targeted areas. We do not need to wait to have dead victims and destroyed properties before we act. That is why we are visiting these areas to reinstate the warning for residents to vacate the areas and stop dumping indiscriminately.”
“The natural order would not allow anything to block waterways. The waterbody is powerful when it comes as a flood and flood is as a result of the inability of the water to pass through its natural course. So the government will soon start pulling down structures that are obstructing the easy passage of water and those caught dumping refuse in these rivers will soon face the law,” he announced.
The former speaker further stated that the present administration would not stand by watching community dwellers endangering their lives, adding that plans were rife by the government to dredge and expand river channels at the Ona river at Olodo Community in Egbeda Local Government.
To prevent further flooding, Mr Ayoola advised community dwellers to desist from dumping wastes into rivers, drainages and other waterways and also stop erecting buildings in flood-prone areas and for children to be guided when passing through water areas as a preventive measure to keep them from drowning as he spoke extensively with the people.
He also visited Idi-Ayunre at Oje Market in Ibadan to inspect the level of damage the heavy downpour of Tuesday caused the people living there.
While addressing the traders, the commissioner reiterated that to achieve a disaster and flood-free communities, all hands must be on deck, charging the people to comply with the state’s environmental laws when carrying out their legitimate businesses.