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Flood overtakes Lagos community, govt decries illegal structures

The Lagos State Government on Sunday said it had stepped up efforts to clamp down on residents who built structures along drains and floodplains.

This was after torrential rainfall, on Friday, overwhelmed buildings and washed away perimeter fences in different parts of the state, including New Oko Oba community, in the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area.

A video clip shared on Facebook by a lawyer, Jefferson Uwoghiren, showed many houses overtaken by flood.

The resident who filmed the incident said the flood swept away property.

“From 2.30pm, it is past 3pm at the moment, and the flood has been really worrisome; houses are being submerged.

“This is New Oko Oba and this is the street behind Abimbola Awoliyi Estate; you can see houses being submerged, gates and fences being removed and washed away by the flood because those houses (are) beside the canal,” he said.

A resident, who gave his name only as Dawodu for security reasons, said the flood was caused by the shoddy construction of canals in the community.

He said, “This is not the first time floodwater will be submerging this area. In May, floodwater from the canal swept away a Lexus SUV. The problem is that many of the canals were not constructed properly and whenever there is a downpour, it destroys property and sometimes, people lose their lives.

“The same canal extends to Iyana-Ipaja, Command, Ayobo. But residents of those places hardly have any issue with flooding like what is being experienced at New Oko Oba and its surroundings.”

The Chairman of Iludun Community Development Association, New Oko Oba, Benson Aderemi, said the government had commenced dredging and reconstruction of some of the canals in the community.

He said, “Those who were affected severely by the flood were those whose houses were close to the canals. But I can tell you that the government is working as we have seen contractors at work already.

“Today, our CDA will even submit a report to the authorities over the issue of the flood and hopefully, when the work on the canals is completed, the issue of flooding in this part of Lagos will be a thing of the past.”

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said no causality was recorded in the flooding at the New Oko Oba area.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, enjoined residents to stop emptying waste into canals.

He said, “What happened was a flash flood and within hours when the rain subsided, the flood disappeared. As we all know, Lagos is less than two metres above sea level. Once rain falls, things like flash floods are expected in areas where the canals and drainage have been blocked by debris and you know we are still in the rainy season.”

The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, in a statement, urged all enforcement arms of the state to step up their supervisory roles.

He said, “Their impact must be felt by recalcitrant people and institutions who have defied the government and built structures on drainage alignments, floodplains, and low-lying areas now more than ever before.

“Lagos is constantly monitoring the Ogun River which flows directly into the Lagos Lagoon and the state may be susceptible to dangers of flooding with the periodic release of rainwater from Oyan Dam by the managers, the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority.

“The state is also working in concert with the authority to ensure that rainwater releases that pass through the Oyan Dam have a minimal negative impact on the residents.”

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