As a result of the heavy flooding that has occurred this year, the government of Ogun State has issued a warning that 23 communities within the state and bordering communities in Lagos are likely to be affected by the water. On April 26, Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya, issued the warning during an address to the media on the state’s Annual Flood Alert. The affected communities include Onikoko, Sokori, and Arakanga regions in Abeokuta, the Owa and Yemule riverbanks in Ijebu-Ode, Eruwuru in Sagamu, Ebute Kimobi in Ijebu East, Isaka Owode in Ado Odo Ota, Owode, Igijo, Ilaro, and Ijoko.
The commissioner estimates that the first flash floods caused by heavy rainfall would hit the areas between April and July. There will be long-lasting effects from the second season of rains in September through November on wetland areas such as Alagbole, Akute, Isheri, Warewa, Oke-Afa, Mowe, Ibafo, Kara, Onihale, Ebute Kimobi, and Riverside Estate. The commissioner warned that these places would be prone to coastal flooding as a result of a combination of rising sea levels and the likely release of excess water from the Oyan dam, which is blocked by the tidal lock of the Ogun River at Lagos Lagoon.
Due to the 2022 flood, several deaths and displacements were recorded.
He suggested that those living in these area should get ready to move elsewhere if it becomes required temporarily. In addition, he recalled the enormous flooding that occurred in Nigeria in 2022, which resulted in over 600 deaths and the displacement of over 2.4 million people. Additionally, in February, the ICIR released a report stating that 32 states, including Ogun and Lagos, are at risk of flooding in 2023. Therefore, the commissioner urged residents of flood-prone areas to refrain from using water from unsecured wells and boreholes to limit the spread of illness.
Also, in his briefing, he praised the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun, citing his commitment to environmental best practices as a key reason why the state was mostly unaffected by the floods of 2022. He urged the people not to do anything that would obstruct water from reaching its destination. Residents are urged to use the dependable services offered by the Ogun State Waste Management Authority (OGWAMA) as well as the Private Sector Participants (PSP) instead of dumping waste into storm drainage channels or waterways.
Much attention and precaution are needed to alleviate the floods impact.
Another problem is the construction of buildings along run-off pathways, erecting temporary buildings and containers there, or expanding a business on top of a drain in a market or another public area. Additionally, there is a necessity for caution with regard to other man-made challenges, such as improper digging of sand along waterways, particularly in developed environments, chaotic agricultural practices, constructing on the pathways of streams and rivers, and not adhering to transportation advice during periods of rainfall.
Speaking on realizing the cross-border effects of flooding, he assured state residents that they have effective cooperation with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) management as well as those in the neighbouring States of Lagos and Oyo, particularly in relation to the discharge of water from Oyan Dam. When it becomes necessary for OORBDA to release the water that has been held back beyond the daily thresholds for safety reasons, residents will be given the appropriate amount of notice in advance.
FG and NEWMAP contributions receive commendations.
Lastly, the commissioner called for additional financial support to carry out the correction of most of the channel problems throughout the state while at the same time expressing gratitude for the fact that the Presidential Committee for the Development of a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster visited the state as well as the significant contribution of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) assistance project in the state which is aimed at preventing flood disaster.
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