The Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Barr. Tokunbo Wahab, has addressed the media on the flooding situation along the Ogun River Basin and Lagoon coastline.
During the media brief, Barr. Wahab provided insights into the extensive rainfall and water release data and highlighted the government’s multifaceted approach to mitigate flooding.
According to the commissioner, the Lagos State government is committed to year-round drainage maintenance, efficient waterway management, and improved flood prediction and early warning systems. Collaborations with relevant agencies and authorities are underway to balance water management needs and community safety.
He, therefore, encouraged the residents to support these efforts by maintaining clear drainage systems and preventing waste dumping in canals and roads. The government is committed to managing the flooding and ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens.
Read the full speech below.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES, MR. TOKUNBO WAHAB AT THE PRESS BRIEFING ON FLOODING SITUATION ALONG THE BASIN OF THE OGUN RIVER AND LAGOON COASTLINE HELD ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2023 AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM OF MOE & WR, ALAUSA
It is a pleasure to address the media on the status of the latest flood alert for release of water by the Ogun-Osun River BasinDevelopment Authority (OORBDA) on October 16 as well as the preparedness of the Lagos State Government to contain any eventuality that might come with the intensity of the flow of run off from upland States into Lagos due to the rainfall events since September 2023.
I am before you today, to address a matter of great importance that has been affecting our communities, which is the recent situation of low lying areas/flood plain along the Ogun River basin and the Lagoon coastline and the resulting flooding. I understand the concerns and anxieties that many of our people have been experiencing and I want to assure you that this government is fully capable of managing the flooding and its consequences.
From some of the statistics issued by the Ogun Oshun River Basin Development Authority, the total amount of rainfall recorded from January to October 15 of 2023 indicates that most of the expected rainfall in the area has fallen.
Likewise for the volume of water released from January to October 15, 2023 which is more than the average synthesized Annual Flow Volume of 1770Mcm against a Gross Storage of 2,274.0Mcm.
First, for context on the severity of the issues, let me share with you the volumes of water flow through the Oyan Dam in the past few months. In July 2023, 418.9 million cubic meters of water was released. In August, that figure rose to 545.0 million cubic meters, September saw the release of 532.2 million cubic meters and as of October 15th, the flow has been averaging daily releases of 23.2 million cubic meters totaling 2,274Mcm.
This is in addition to 203.4mm of rainfall in July, 174.9mm in August, 362.6mm of rainfall in September and 170.8mm in October 2023 so far.
As at the 15of October, the peak of the expected rainfall in the month of October has already been experienced as the inflow from the upstream is reducing gradually. This will eventually abate all issues of flooding that may be experienced in the upstream.
These are not numbers we take lightly and we acknowledge the impact they’ve had on our communities.
In response to this situation, the government has stepped up itsmultifaceted approach to mitigate the effects of the flooding. We are committed to all-year-round drainage maintenance, reclaiming drainage Right of Way, ensuring that our waterways are kept clear and flowing efficiently. Additionally, we have undertaken a comprehensive dredging program for our main river channels to enhance water flow and reduce the risk of flooding. Furthermore, we are working on improving our flood prediction and early warning systems to keep our citizens informed and safe.
We have recognized the need for better collaboration with the management of Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority to manage the release of water from the dam more effectively. By fostering an improved relationship, we aim to strike a balance between the needs for water management and the safety of our communities. This is in addition to similar collaborations we have with Nigerian Meteorological Agency(NiMet), Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NiHSA) to mention a few.
Our State, being low-lying, is at risk of coastal flooding. We are fully aware of this vulnerability and we are working diligently to adapt well to it. This includes plans for building resilient infrastructure and adopting sustainable land use practices. The flooding may stay for a while but will recede with time.
Let me at this juncture assure you all that our State continues to reap the gain of planning, as our flood control measures are already proving adequate and are also being stepped up to contain any additional unforeseen weather conditions.
Guided by core principles of providing a flood-free and hygienic environment in the State, this Ministry is providing all-year-round drainage maintenance for effective and efficient flood control with diligent dredging of all primary channels and cleaning/de-silting of all secondary collectors, to enable them discharge efficiently and act as retention and/or detention basins.
We are also collaborating on a continuous basis with the chairmen of all LGA’s/LCDAs and the tenements to complement our efforts by embarking on cleaning/de-silting of all tertiary drains in the State.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang under Drainage Maintenance Department of the Ministry is still at work consistently working on black spots and intervening on some critical tertiary drains to enable them discharge efficiently and act as retention basins.
We appeal to residents to report cases of drainage blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorized places to our Resident Engineers offices Statewide as their telephone numbers are available in all our 57 Local Governments Areas and Local Council Development Areas and in the public domain to attend to all your needs before, during and after the rainy season.
On a final note, I wish to appeal once again to our people to continue to support our efforts by complementing the State Government through regular clearing of drains in their frontages to ensure free-flow of storm water and to desist from dumping of refuse into drainage channels and roads so that we can consolidate on the gains already made in the 2023 rainy season.
Thank you for listening.