In its effort to mitigate flooding in Ibadan, the Oyo state government has proactively embarked on clearing of drain channels and dredging of major rivers in Ibadan and its environs.
The Commissioner for Environment, Chief Isaac Ishola, made this disclosure on Wednesday in Ibadan at a joint press conference.
The Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) has dredged and desilted up to 64 river courses and drain channels this year. It has also rebuilt major hydraulic infrastructure which were destroyed by the 2011 flood. Some of them include new bridges and culverts constructed at Ogbere-Pegba, Cele Rainbow, Shasha-Osajin and Ola-Adua.
It is also carrying out civil works on 13 other sites across Ibadan coupled with enlightenment campaigns to discourage indiscriminate dumping of refuse in water channels, building on flood plains and river setbacks and other flood causing behaviours.
Residents who spoke with journalists expressed joy at the flood control measures, profusely thanking the state government and the project handlers.
The Vice chairman of Omi Ahoyaya community where the Oganla-Alewe-Omolaso river was dredged, Oladele Iwindayo, said that “since the dredging was done two months ago, we now sleep with our two eyes closed”.
He said that many in the community who had abandoned their homes and relocated were now returning to claim their property.
“We were forced to call on government for help after suffering for many years. I joined them here in 2011 when I retired. And my first experience was a serious flood. We had invited contractors to do it three times but it failed. A lot of people were forced away. Our prayers were answered last year when we got a positive response from government.”
At Ijaye-Iseyin road where Odo Oba-Elebu stream was dredged, a resident of the community, Adebayo Olamoso, pointed out that 10 years ago, the stream was not as wide as it is now
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In a similar development, a visit by journalist to the Eleyele Dam revealed that the project is now in full swing.
The Commissioner for Environment, Chief Isaac Ishola, who led an inspection team including members of the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) as well as journalists, stated that the expansion of the dam was long overdue, having been untouched since its construction in 1942.
He stated that the ongoing rehabilitation is targeted at averting failure of the dam, “a development whose disastrous aftermaths are better imagined than experienced”
He explained that the project “is targetted at improving the dam’s capacity to hold more water and prevent flooding” observing that “the decrepit state of the Eleyele Dam contributed in no small way to the alarming flooding of 26th August, 2011”.