Flooding has become a global menace that affects countries irrespective of geographical location and many states in Nigeria are not exempted from this. The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet), listed Oyo state as one of the states that might experience flooding in its seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) for two consecutive year; 2017 and 2018 list of states that would be affected by flood by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet)
In order to ensure the menace remains a hazard and not a disaster by averting flooding disasters, the Oyo state government has done a lot to ensure that the issue of flooding remains a thing of the past in Ibadan by expending billions of naira on construction of bridges and culverts in flood prone areas, dredging and expansion of rivers as well as clearing of drainages and water across the states.
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One of such is a conference aimed at beaming the searchlight on the flood menace, talk of preventive measures, preparation and mitigation techniques and reasons why every individual should play a role to complement government’s efforts and respect policies on flood mitigation to stakeholders from flood prone communities.
The conference tagged iFAST, which is an Ibadan flood awareness and stakeholders thrust conference held on Tuesday at the Banquet Hall of the Premier Hotel in Ibadan, is a result of collaboration between the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) and the Oyo State Emergency Management Agency (OYSEMA)
And to combat the menace, Ajimobi designed a comprehensive and deep rooted solution to the continuous challenge of curbing flooding and mitigating its effects by setting up (IUFMP), an initiative of the governor with funding support from the World Bank which is a special purpose vehicle to address all issues relating to flooding in Ibadan; reduce flood risks and improve solid waste management practices in Ibadan, increase knowledge of flooding and solid waste management, improve legal, policy and institutional environment for promoting desirable flood risk reduction behavior and improve flood risk reduction and waste management behaviors by individuals, households and businesses.
IUFMP also has the additional responsibility of working on the City Master Plan, the Flood Risk Management and Drainage Master Plan and the Solid Waste Management Master Plan. The governor’s idea is yielding results as IUFMP is already delivering masterpiece civil works across Ibadan to forestall a reoccurrence of the 2011 situation; it has dredged streams in about 67 locations, expansion of waterways and clearing of blocked drains.
Ibadan is known to have witnessed several devastating flood incidents since 1933 and flooding has become a perennial occurrence but the August 26, 2011 has been adjudged to be the most destructive with monetary value of damages to property running into billions and many lives lost; a total of 39 bridges and culverts were damaged in the floods.
Though there are many causes of flood disasters, Ibadan is said to have the peculiar challenge that basically bothers on undue interference by man; lack of drainage systems, narrow gauge drainage, drainages blocked by new or extended buildings or accumulation of solid wastes in drainages, solid waste dumped into streams and river channels over time resulting in raised stream beds downhill or downstream which leads to culverts being blocked and water flow under bridges substantially constricted as well as blocking of waterways with construction and poor management of water resources.
This is the reason IUFMP and OYSEMA gathered people from flood prone areas together to educate them on causes of flood and what they need to do to protect themselves and their community from avoidable flood and what to do when flooding is caused by natural hazards.
The representative of National Emerncy Management Agency (NEMA), Aikpokpo Ebahi while speaking stated that the agency appreciates the efforts of IUFMP, adding that since its inception, Oyo state has not experienced any major flooding.
The Administrative Secretary of OYSEMA, Akin Makinde, while speaking on flood menace as a result of global warming and climate change stated that the solution lies in change in attitude to life, stopping environmental pollution, respect to nature and preservation as well as investing in flood defenses among others.
The IUFMP coordinator, Dayo Ayorinde on his part called on stakeholders to support and complement government’s efforts as the menace of flood is a collective responsibility, adding that government is doing its part and the people need to do theirs.
Other speakers include Kolawole Hamzat-Gbenla who spoke on Flood hazard and community resilience, Linda Oayinka Alli who spoke on human and environmental factors that predispose Ibadan to flooding and the Director General, Bureau of Physical planning and Urban Development, Alh. Waheed Gbadamosi, who affirmed that Oyo state has not experienced flooding in seven years and as government is doing all within its powers, the people need to comply with planning regulations, patronize waste contractors and complement government’s efforts.
The Commissioner for Environment and Water resources, Chief Isaac Ishola and the Permanent Secretary, Mr Gabriel Soji Oguntola, also called on people to collaborate with the state government in its efforts to rid the state of flood incidences by observing acceptable environmental management attitude.