Abeokuta — The Ogun State government yesterday declared it would demolish structures obstructing waterways in the state to prevent a reoccurrence of flooding.
The government also promised to continue the dredging of rivers to give way for free flow of water.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, stated this yesterday during the inspection of areas affected by the flood that ravaged Abeokuta, the state capital, on Saturday following many hours of heavy rain.
Many areas in Abeokuta metropolis were hugely affected by the flooding, including houses at the bank of the river, which were submerged.
The flood pulled down a part of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library fence, cut off a bridge linking the Ijeja and Igboore communities and terribly affected many houses at Isale Igbehin, near the Government House.
Affected areas also included Kuto, Isale-Igbein, Lafenwa, Amolaso, Ijeun-Titun, Ago-Ijesa, Abiola Way, Isale Abetu, Sokori, Igbore, Oke Mosan and Isale Make area, all in the Abeokuta South and North local governments.
Our correspondent, who went round the state capital, observed that property worth millions of naira were destroyed, while a number of residents were displaced.
He also observed that a number of vehicles were trapped in the flood, while streams and rivers overflowed their banks.
Our correspondent yesterday saw residents in Amolaso and Isale Igbehin packing their goods out of the flooded houses and shops.
A young man, who identified himself simply as Rasheed, told Daily Trust, "This has been happening for many years. I wondered why government has not found a solution to it. The Vice President was here in 2018. The Deputy Governor, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele, also visited this area recently and made promises.
"It's time government solved this problem. For every rainy season, people have to live in fear of flooding. It's that bad."
A beverages dealer at Amolaso, Mrs Blessing Eze, lamented that the flood swept away all her goods and urged the state government to provide succour to cushion the effects of the loss.
"I went to the market to buy some goods. When It was raining, I had to stay somewhere in the market. However, before I returned, this is what I met; everywhere was flooded. I urge government to please come to our aid," Mrs Eze said.
Inspecting the affected areas yesterday, Abudu-Balogun, in company of the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tunji Odunlami, attributed human activities such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse on waterways as one of the factors responsible for the flooding.
Areas visited by the state government team included Ijeja, Amolaso, Isale-Igbein, Ori-Omi and Sokori.
"As a government, we will take a decisive step to ensure that residents comply with environmental laws. We are happy that no life was lost yesterday (Saturday). We will ensure that corrections are made to forestall an annual happening of this natural disaster.
"We have seen the extent of the damage done by the flooding. We will continue to dredge canals in the state to allow for free passage of water.
"The effects of human activities, that is, building on waterways and indiscriminate dumping of refuse inside streams and rivers, are factors responsible for what we are seeing here. We can all see the devastating effects," Abudu-Balogun said.
Odunlami expressed the regrets of the Governor Dapo Abiodun administration on the unfortunate incident, saying despite sensitisation campaigns, many residents still encroached on water terrains.
He explained that government might not have a choice than to demolish houses obstructing waterways, while advising people living along river channels to vacate their places of abode to safe places.
The Baale of Amolaso, Chief Anthony Bello, appealed to the state government to channelise the stream from Gbangba through Ijeun Titun to Isabo.