Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has expressed the readiness of his administration to take pro-active measures in preventing flood and disasters in the state.
The governor made the disclosure while speaking at the flag-off of the Mid-term review of the World Bank-sponsored Ibadan Urban Flood Management objective.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary(CPS) to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Makinde stated that the government would change the approach to natural disasters and their impacts from the reactive mode to a proactive approach, adding that such a step would help in pre-empting and preventing the disasters and reducing their impacts.
He said: “We will continue to give optimal support to the project until it completes its eight-year circle and realises its laudable objectives: to provide fundamental and far-reaching solutions to the perennial and incessant flooding that has become typical of Ibadan.
“Although we have not had any recent floods as bad as that which occurred in 2011, starting this last August, we had to issue flood alerts asking people who live in flood-prone areas to vacate those zones until the heavy rains recede.
“We know we can and have to do more both in the short, medium and long term. It saddens us that this last September, the communities of Oke Odo and Oke-Bola suffered heavy losses due to flooding.
“That is why we are presently working on the channelisation of major rivers in the state. The channelisation of the Ogunpa River and others will increase floodwater runoff capacity. We are also continually educating and sensitising our people on the dangers of poor sanitation and building houses in areas that contribute to flooding. Our four environmental tribunals will act swiftly to enforce our environmental laws.”
Governor Makinde, who noted that the government remained committed to the successful implementation of the IUFMP, maintained that the Mid-Term Review of the intervention was imperative.
“Therefore, this Mid-Term Review is auspicious. Our people say when you are travelling, you should be shaking the trees so that people know how far you have gone. So, we need to concretize agreements, iterate outcomes, and ensure that nothing interferes with the smooth running of this project going forward, ” Makinde stated
He added that his administration considers the IUFMP a priority, saying “ it is a targeted response to the long-standing flood menace that has plagued our ancient city [Ibadan] and a courageous and bold move to ensure that we do not live that history again.”
Speaking at the Mid-term review, the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo, stated that the review “afforded the government the opportunity to point out some areas of critical interventions that need to be factored into the project in order to ensure the full realization of its objectives.”
He identified the dredging of Agodi lake, solid waste management and implementation masterplan as areas needed to be factored into the project, adding that it might necessitate the reallocation of part of the remaining credit facility on the project.