Flood alert: We’ll demolish illegal houses, kiosks —Oyo govt

AS part of measures to address the listing of Oyo State as likely to experience flood disaster this year, the state government is set to demolish houses, kiosks, shanties and other structures built on waterways, floodplains, drainages and road setbacks.

This measure, according to the state government, had become imperative because residents continued to flout building codes, thereby obstructing the free flow of drainages and mounting pressure on roads.

Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Isaac Ishola, made this known on Monday, while sounding the flood alert to residents of the state as handed down by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).

Ishola, who noted that Ibadan, the state capital, was prone to incidence of flash flooding, due to the topographic nature of the state and its soil types, warned against indiscriminate dumping of waste in drainages.

Noting the tendency for residents to dump refuse in drainages whenever it rained, he said government agents had been empowered to arrest anyone caught dumping refuse in drainages.

Especially, Ishola urged the people of the state to relocate from their houses whenever they observe that rain persisted for a while and avoid low, broken, submerged bridges and culverts.

He urged residents to regularly clean their drainages, canals and shun staying under tension wires.

“The people of the state do not comply with building codes. Now, the government is ready to take decisive measure against all those who do not comply with our building codes. Many houses do not comply with our setback regulations. Where we discover that houses or structures are built on waterways, such houses or structures will be demolished. We will go tougher in terms of compliance.”

“The first stage is to alert residents and plan a strategy to mitigate any impending flood disaster. We will meet with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on where they will come in,” Ishola said.

He listed measures taken by the government to include rehabilitation of drainages, Eleyele multipurpose reservoir, development of Ibadan City master plan, Solid Waste Management plan and provision of early warning system.

Asides the World Bank Assisted Ibadan Urban Flood Management Programme, Ishola said that the state was a beneficiary of grants from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) aimed at addressing the 218 flood and erosion prone areas in the state that had been identified.

On what had been done since a major flood disaster was recorded in August 2011, Coordinator, Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, Mr Dayo Ayorinde, said that civil works had commenced at four out of the 14 priority sites that were damaged in the last incident.