Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello
* Allays fear of flood disasters in 2013
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
With the rains fast approaching, the Lagos State Government at the weekend assured Lagosians that the state would not experience flood disasters in 2013 due to what it ascribed to different drainage infrastructure the state had been building across all the local councils as a strategy to avert and contain such disasters.
The state’s Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, gave the assurance during an inspection of some critical drainage projects, which he said the state government had been constructing in almost all the local government areas to protect the residents from untold sufferings.
Bello, who conducted the inspection along with the Permanent Secretary (Office of Drainage Services), Mr. Muyideen Akinsanya, among others, asked Lagos residents to desist from encroaching on drainage channels across the state to enable free flow of storm water during the rainy season.
He warned that the state government would not condone encroachment on drainage alignment, adding that all buildings erected on drainage alignments in any part of the state would be demolished.
The commissioner assured that no matter the amount of rains that might fall, the state would not experience flood disaster, saying there could however be flash flood which would disappear soon as the rain subsides.
He said the inspection of drainage works was “to enable the state government assess the level of work done, construct more drainages and widen others to increase their capacities to contain excess storm water. The inspection will enable the government to interact with residents and allay their fears regarding flooding.
“The state government is fully prepared to combat flooding as the rainy season is coming. We have intensified our efforts to ensure that most of the contracts awarded for drainage channels are completed before the rain starts.
“I can promise you that the incidence of flooding would not occur as it was experienced in some other states in the country last year. So, that is why we are preparing early. It is better to be fully prepared. We cannot prepare during rainy season. We have to prepare before the rains,” he said.
He added that the state officials would inspect all drainage channels and flood-prone areas “to enable the state government effectively put in place measures that would minimize flood effects as the rains begin”.
He therefore urged the citizenry “not to erect buildings, trade or display their wares on drainage channels or alignments and avoid blocking drainages with silts and dirt which may disturb flow of water,” noting that failure to heed the warning could lead to flooding.
Some of the drainage projects Bello inspected along with his team included Anthony/Oke Alo channel, Oke Alo; construction of Lateef Alli/Anipole/Damilola Ajayi collector drain Sholuyi, Arowojobe Estate, Yaweh bridge and construction of down drainage channel in Gbagada.