Following Nigerian Meteorology Services, NIMET, heavy rainfall prediction and attendant flooding with possible danger to lives and property in some states including Lagos, the state government directed residents of low lying areas, especially those in river banks, to relocate to higher grounds for safety.
The state government, however, reassured that irrespective of the rainfall advisory issued by NIMET on flash flooding, adequate measures had been put in place to contain any eventuality.
The state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, while disclosing the preparation of government disclosed that heavy rainfalls will resume in September, adding that water from Oyan Dam will also be released.
Bello said the capacity of primary and secondary drains had been enhanced through consistent cleaning and clearing to contain run offs.
“A practical demonstration of our preparedness was the over 10 hours rainfall experienced in Lagos on July 19 which resulted into flooding that submerged some houses and vehicles especially in Marina but which had disappeared the next morning, which was some eight to 10 hours after”, he said.
Bello explained that the same level of preparedness is what the state has in store for the advisory by the management of Ogun Osun River Basin Authority on release of water from Oyan Dam.
The Commissioner continued: “We are stepping up the dredging and cleaning of all our channels and would also use the opportunity to once again put the residents of low-lying areas to be alert to be ready to move when rain of unusual intensity falls.”
The identified areas put on the top alert, especially those in the river banks, are Agiliti, Ajegunle, Isheri North, Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota and Shibiri among others.
“All residents of the listed areas must be at alert to relocate to higher grounds to save their lives and properties when water is released by Oyan Dam authorities. For such people, they can always return to their abode when the water subsides”, he said.
“Let me give an assurance to all residents that the proactive stance of the Ministry has always been, ‘Be ready always’.
“We have always treated the nine months of March to November as peak months of rainfall in our preparations. That is why we can never be caught napping”.
Meanwhile, one major contributory factor to flooding in Lagos has been identified as the rise in sea level due to the costal nature of the state which has always posed risks to the state anytime there is high tidal movement which may lock up the discharge points of the drainage channels and until it recedes, there can be no discharge.
At Ajegunle, along Ikorodu/Mile-12 area, it was observed that flood level had increased and may begin to flow into homes except urgent measures are taken.
Sunday Vanguard observed that the impact of the water level was felt in streets like Ogabi, Balogun and, Ifelodun Streets, Ikorodu, while Unity Street, Con Road and other streets had little or no effects.
At Ogabi Street, some of the buildings were under lock and key when Sunday Vanguard visited the area.
However, the purpose for this could not be ascertained but we noticed traces of flooding around the buildings.
At some of the streets visited, residents claimed that the water level usually gets to the window level of buildings anytime Oyam Dam water is released.
A resident simply identified as Madam Alice said she usually hangs her belongings during rainy seasons while squatting with a friend around Ketu and returns later dry season.
“I have been doing this for the past eight years but my friend has relocated out of Lagos due to pressure of work”, she said.
“My survival now lies in the hands of God. Where will I temporarily move to now without any alternative?
“I’m a poor widow, I have nowhere to relocate.”
Another resident, Emiloju Thomson, expressed disappointment at the government’s advisory that residents of low-lying areas should vacate the area.
“They should have told us where to go. After all, there are so many unoccupied low-cost housing estates built by government”, Thomson said. “They should have temporarily relocated us to those places.
“I live and eke a living in Lagos but all my relatives are outside Lagos. I don’t know how I can respond to such advisory because I have nowhere to go.”