As part of measures to prevent flood disasters and its consequent damage to lives and property, the Oyo State government has commenced the dredging of 64 rivers and streams across Ibadan.
The project is being undertaken through the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) under the supervision of the Oyo state Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
During an inspection tour of some of the sites on Thursday, Director-General of the IUFMP, Mr. Dayo Ayorinde, stated that dredging have been concluded in more than half of the target number of sites.
According to him, prior to the the approval of the ongoing dredging works, the IUFMP had worked on 14 priority sites where permanent structures like culverts, drainages and bridges were constructed. He said that the projects are all in pursuant of the agencies bid to ensure total implementation of the Ibadan Urban and Drainage Master Plan.
The state commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Isaac Ishola, who was also on the monitoring team, said that the IUFMP project is one of the many measures the state government was using to checkmate flood disasters in the state.
“This is just one of the many proactive measures being put in place to ensure safety of lives and properties. To guard against flood and other environmental disasters, the state government has put three masterplans in place. They are the Ibadan City Masterplan; the Ibadan building masterplan and the Ibadan Solid waste masterplan”
He urged residents to always observe setbacks and avoid building on flood plains or disaster-prone areas.
The commissioner also warned residents to be very careful when buying land as some unscrupulous persons sell flood-prone pieces of land and setbacks during the dry season when it is not easily detected. “A stream may look very small today, but may expand later in the future”, he pointed out.
Some of the sites visited by the monitoring team include: a tributary of river Ona at Goodness estate, behind Odogbo barracks, Ojoo; Orelope community at 7up area, Oluyole extension, Asaju village, Olodo and Ajofoyinbo community, Soka area all in Ibadan.
The team also had stops to inspect the clearing of roadside drainings being carried out across the city.
Residents and community leaders who spoke to journalists were full of joy and praises for the Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led administration.
Mrs Mercy Ifaoye, a resident of Goodness estate explained that “before the government started to intervene, we are hardly able to sleep in our houses because the whole area get submerged and the floods just pour into our houses, even far above our knees”
She told Newspeakonline that the area witnessed two great incidents in 2011 and 2014 but since the dredging started, the floods have stopped, pointing to an area close to the stream, that hitherto, was never dry during the rains.
At Alaro community, Oluyole extention, Mr. Benson Olutona who spoke on behalf of the community leader, explained that the fence to his house had fallen three times because of the incessant floods during the raining season.
He said: “Five years ago, we did the dredging ourselves but after three years, the flood started again. But now, with government’s intervention, we now have rest of mind. We are very happy”
Apart from the construction activities, the IUFMP has also embarked on an enlightenment programme to educate residents on the need to dispose wastes properly and eschew behaviors that could lead to flood and and other disasters