New Telegraph

Environmental hazards and Ogun Government’s interventions

The hazard of flooding is an annual phenomenon that has displaced millions every year all over the globe and claimed lives and property. But it should be noted that the most widespread of any hazard, floods can arise from abnormally high precipitation, storm surges from tropical storms, dam burst or dam water release, and rapid snow belts or burst water mains.

The majority of floods are harmful to humans. Nigeria experiences floods every year, especially flash floods and dam-related floods during the raining season. Boiling down the situation in Ogun State, the nonchalant attitude of the citizens, in no small measure, has contributed to the devastating effects of the flooding. Dumping of refuse in gutters, erecting illegal structures along the right of ways of water flow, among others, contribute to the devastating effects.

Residents of flood-prone and wetland areas, such as Isheri, Wawa, Arepo, Akute, Alagbole, etc. (Ifo Local Government Area), Adigbe, Ofada, Ibafo, Mowe, Magboro, etc. (Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area), Gbangba, Ijaiye, Ijeun-Tuntun, Isale-Oja, Kuto, Amolaso, Ijeja, etc. (Abeokuta South Local Government), Adedotun, Ago-Ika, Enugada, Totoro, Onikoko, etc. (Abeokuta North Local Government), Owa and Yemule River Courses (Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area), Obantoko, Arakanga (Odeda Local Government Area), Ado-Odo/Ota, Sagamu, Ijebu-East and Ogun Waterside who usually bear the brunt, on a yearly basis, have had bitter tastes of the flash flooding.

To stem the tides, as a responsive and responsible government that is statutorily saddled with the protection of lives and property of its citizens, the Ogun State Government, at a press conference held on June 18, 2021, alerted the residents of the imminent flash flood that would come in July, with dire consequences. Special Adviser (SA) to the Governor on Environment and Managing Director, Ogun State Waste Management Authority (OGWMA), Mr Oladimeji Oresanya, had warned the residents to avoid going out on five particular dates, the days which they knew quite well that the rainfall would be torrential. According to the environment expert: “The flash flood was stage one. Then, the second stage of flood which is September flooding.

When we talk of fluvial flooding that would come in September, the flooding would come as a result of high rainfall precipitation, because it is going to be over 300 millimetres in Ogun State. And it is going to be almost 30 days of rain. So, we are going to have rain almost every day.

With this high level precipitation, which is going to be highest for the year, we are going to have a release of the water from Oyan Dam, belonging to the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA). And that Oyan Dam will be releasing about 16 million gallons of water daily for the next three to four weeks.

“And that will raise the water level to almost about 1.6 metres and 1.8 metres in most of our river banks to that level. Inland water is going to rise, because of the release of this Oyan Water Dam. As a result, we are going to have an increase in the speed of the water also. It is likely going to affect most of the river banks.” However, this was a warning to the people, especially those who are doing fishing and other agricultural activities around the river banks to finish up their harvesting in the last month of August, so that they could excuse the river banks during this period, which was for a short duration.

Those who live by the river banks, except those who know how to swim, have been advised that children, elderly ones and physically challenged people (the vulnerable) should move out of the areas for now. Because there are situations that may not have solutions, and it is a natural occurrence. But the anti-pyrogenic ones, the government has waded in to address that. The anti-pyrogenic ones are the buildings that are obstructing along the right of ways of the water flow. Talking about the buildings that have been erected along that area, people are encroaching around the floodplain.

The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is already marking those houses and they may have to pull down those structures to allow the capacity of our rivers to be able to carry the water. They would reduce conscription. And those who are dumping refuse inside the waterways, because the Private Sector Partnership (PSP) officials are already going from house-to-house, to ensure that whether you give your waste to the PSP officials on the road, under the drainage, you would pay.

So, the payment is to tell the residents that, why do you have to dump your refuse inside the drainage when you are still going to pay? As a result, there is a programme and a structure in the state to guide against flooding and to make sure that the lives of our people are well protected.

It must be noted that, one other thing that we would like to see or experience is that, in cities where we have massive flooding within the Inland areas, and what always comes out after that is cholera. Because there is no better sewage system and the sewage lines are floating all over. And this situation may lead to pollution of the wells where people fetch water for drinking.

To save the situation: “We are planning a kind of fumigation, immediately after flooding, especially the flooding plain. We are going to fumigate the entire flood plain and then, decontaminate these areas in the month of October (between the middle and end of the month) when flooding would have receded. In areas where we would have probably have sighted flooding and where people depend on them, we would do the contamination, so that the people would not have these river-borne diseases. The objective is just to protect the lives of our people and make sure that Ogun State has a very low propensity for communicable diseases,” said the SA. Meanwhile, at the inception of the current dispensation in the state on May 29, 2021, premium has been placed on a clean environment, just to lend credence to a popular maxim, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Ogbonnikan writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State

Read Previous

NFF must overhaul Falcons to be ‘super’ again

Read Next

APC and struggle for a new Nigeria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *