The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has expressed the readiness of his administration to take pro-active measures in preventing flood and disasters in the state.
The Governor made the remarks while speaking at the flag-off of the Mid-term review of the World Bank-sponsored Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, at the state capital.
Governor Makinde, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, declared that the government would change the approach to natural disasters and their impacts from the reactive mode to a proactive approach, adding that such a step would help in pre-empting and preventing the disasters and reducing their impacts.
The statement quoted the Governor as expressing the readiness of the Oyo State Government to continue to collaborate “with the World Bank on the IUFMP to develop ways to move from a reactive approach to disasters to a more proactive one of pre-empting and preventing natural disasters and reducing the disastrous impact.”
He said: “We will continue to give optimal support to the project until it completes its eight-year circle and realises its laudable objectives: “to provide fundamental and far-reaching solutions to the perennial and incessant flooding that has become typical of Ibadan.”
“Although we have not had any recent floods as bad as that which occurred in 2011, starting this last August, we had to issue flood alerts asking people who live in flood-prone areas to vacate those zones until the heavy rains recede.
“We know we can and have to do more both in the short, medium and long term. It saddens us that this last September, the communities of Oke Odo and Oke-Bola suffered heavy losses due to flooding.
“That is why we are presently working on the channelisation of major rivers in the state. The channelisation of the Ogunpa River and others will increase floodwater runoff capacity. We are also continually educating and sensitising our people on the dangers of poor sanitation and building houses in areas that contribute to flooding. Our four environmental tribunals will act swiftly to enforce our environmental laws.”
Governor Makinde, who noted that the Government remained committed to the successful implementation of the IUFMP, maintained that the Mid-Term Review of the intervention was imperative, saying: “Therefore, this Mid-Term Review is auspicious. Our people say when you are travelling, you should be shaking the trees so that people know how far you have gone. So, we need to concretize agreements, iterate outcomes, and ensure that nothing interferes with the smooth running of this project going forward.”
He added that his administration considers the IUFMP a priority, as according to him, it “is a targeted response to the long-standing flood menace that has plagued our ancient city [Ibadan] and a courageous and bold move to ensure that we do not live that history again.”
Also speaking at the venue of the Mid-term review, Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo, stated that the review “afforded the Government the opportunity to point out some areas of critical interventions that need to be factored into the project in order to ensure the full realization of its objectives.”
He added that areas such as the additional pool of works and other priority sites, destination, and dredging of the Agodi Lake and solid waste management and implementation masterplan were areas needed to be factored into the project and that this might warrant reallocation of part of the remaining credit facility on the project.