By Adeola Badru
THE Oyo State Government said it has begun the rehabilitation of the 77-year- old Eleyele dam, which contributed in no small measure to the alarming flooding of August 26, 2011, that ravaged most parts of the state.
This was disclosed on Monday by the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources in the state, Mr Kehinde Ayoola, during a ministerial press briefing, held at the Ministry of Information, Film Theatre.
According to him, the rehabilitation was essentially targeted at averting failure of the dam, adding that development aftermath is better imagined than experienced.
“It is noteworthy that the decrepit state of Eleyele Dam contributed in no small way to the alarming flooding of 26th August 2011 which ravaged most parts of Ibadan. Massive construction works are also ongoing at the sites of the designated thirteen priority sites which cut across different parts of Ibadan,” he disclosed.
On a larger scale, the commissioner noted that the proposed channelisation of major rivers and water channels in Ibadan under the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) scheme is being processed and would soon commence.
“It is in the light of this that the government of the day in Oyo State has expressed its unreserved commitment to the full implementation of the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, the state-owned flood risk mitigation project with funding and technical assistance from the World Bank.”
“This includes river Ona, Agodi Channel, River Ogbere, Kudeti Channel, etc. When completed, these massive channels, which are in the mould of the popular Ogunpa Channel, would boost the floodwater runoff draining capacity of the city,” he added.
Ayoola recalled that the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) gave a frightening prediction of flooding in most states of Nigeria in the last tranche of the 2019 rainy season, with Oyo State, Ibadan fingered among likely victims.
“Instructively, the predicted flooding would be caused majorly by floods from eight countries around Nigeria. This, expectedly, might also be compounded by increasing heavy rail falls characteristic of this period.”
“The vulnerability of Ibadan to the river and urban flooding is induced by the city’s topographic terrain, the problem of indiscriminate waste disposal, building of bouses on flood plains, with the tendency of all the foregoing even being aggravated by the universal menace of global warming and climate change,” he added.
The commissioner then appealed to people of the state to clear their surrounding and street, drain channels and avoid dumping of wastes improperly, urging them to ensure each household keeps a dustbin and patronise government-approved waste disposal contractors.
“As a responsible government, we care about the safety of the lives and property of our citizens and would not want them to suffer any avoidable losses,” he emphasised.