By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Government has advised residents along the banks of Ogun River and other flood-prone areas to relocate to safer areas. This followed a forecast by the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) of likely occurrence of flood in 35 states of the Federation, including Ogun State.
Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Bolaji Oyeleye, in a statement in Abeokuta on Friday, quoting the NIHSA forecast, disclosed that there would be flooding in eight major rivers across the country, including Ogun River, warning that that state would experience above normal rainfall, which could lead to severe flooding.
But some residents of communities along the Lanfenwa-Enugada end of the Ogun River in Abeokuta, the State capital are either adamant or ignorant of the government’s call.
When our correspondent visited the communities on Friday to ascertain the level of compliance of residents to the call, some of the residents were seen going about their normal businesses.
Mr. Moruf Omoaje who lives in the area said, though they had often experienced flooding in the past, they are not ready to relocate “because we have no where else to go.”
Omoaje who said in has been living in the community for over 60 years, maintained that he and some other residents have always been taking precautionary measures to mitigate the effect of flood as a result of heavy down pour.
Also speaking, Mrs. Muinat Lawal recalled that the last time they experienced over-flooding was about 15 years ago, disclosing that since the new Lafenwa-Enugada bridge has been constructed, they have witnessed any serious flooding.
She said with the construction of the bridge, the water have properly channeled to the right direction.
Asked if they were aware of the prediction of NIHSA, Sulaimon Oloyede, another resident claimed ignorance, saying this was not the first time the government would be giving such warnings and nothing serious happened, adding, “It has been a long time we have witnessed any serious flooding.”
He disclosed that they usually experience flooding whenever the Oyan dam was opened but he added that they were prepared for the flood as they would continue to take precautionary measures.
But the Commissioner had said while issuing the warning, “It is in the best interest of residents living in flood prone areas, particularly along the Ogun River, to be ready to move to safer grounds to forestall loss of lives and property’’.
To mitigate the effect of the predicted flooding, the Commissioner advised residents of the State to imbibe good environmental practices, such as desisting from erecting buildings on flood plains, de-silting drainage channels and to desist from dumping refuse in waterways.
Oyeleye restated government’s commitment towards ensuring that the people of the State continue to enjoy safe and conducive environment.