The Ogun State Government, on Monday, said it had begun the process of building internally displaced persons’ camps, as the Ogun Osun River Basin Development Authority begins release of water from Oyan Dam.
The state government, which complained of not being officially notified by the management of OORBDA of the plan to release water from Oyan Dam, said it would notwithstanding, ensure the safety of residents in the state.
The Lagos State Government had on Sunday warned residents, especially those close to River Ogun, that 23 million cubic metres of water would be released in October.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, advised residents of Agboyi-Ketu, Owode Onirin, Iseri, Kara and Majidun to be wary of the staggered release of water from the dam.
The Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, in an interview with The PUNCH, on Monday said although OORBDA had not informed the state government, putting safety measures in place.
Hassan said, “One of the first things we did at the early stage of the flood a few months ago was to do some clearing of enough channels.”
He added that advisory was sent to residents along those routes to vacate ahead of the water release.
Hazzan said, “Some of them are complying, and for those who don’t have anywhere to go, the government is interested in putting them in IDP camp, just for this period to pass; then, we will look for a permanent solution.”
But responding to complaints that OORBDA did not give any official notice of the plan to release water, Head of Information, OORBA, Saliu Adeniyi, said the agency had given enough public notice, through press releases.
Meanwhile, residents of Riverview Estate and the Isheri North GRA have lamented neglect by the government, despite the hardship they experienced when the areas were flooded following the release of water from the Ogun-Osun River basin and they sacked them from their various homes in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State and the Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The Chairman, Riverview Estate, Abayomi Akinde, while speaking with The PUNCH, said despite getting ecological funds from the Federal Government, the Ogun State Government had refused to do anything to improve their condition.
He said, “When the water was released last year, it displaced people from their homes for over two months, and people started living in hotels until they ran out of money and moved to their relations places. For the 22 days that my family and I stayed in the hotel, I spent N598,000 for lodging and feeding; so it is usually a big period of hardship.
“We really cannot prevent them from releasing the water when there is a likelihood that it is going to cause severe damages when the dam collapses. But what the government can do is to use part of the ecological funds the FG released to it to solve some of the problems in our neighbourhood.”
Akinde added that a consultant from Port Harcourt recently engaged in assessing the waterway reported that it was heavily clogged with water hyacinth and other foreign bodies, necessitating dredging.
He said, “If the water hyacinth can be cleared, it would improve our condition. We have made presentations to the government, but they are not listening to us.”
The Chairperson, Isheri North GRA, Funmilola Bisiriyu, said the estate spent N90m on the embankment to prevent the floods from gaining entry into the estate, adding that the government had also abandoned them.
“Last year, after The PUNCH report on what we are going through, the government sent a delegate to assess what is happening, but up till now, the government has not done anything for us. We did embankment on our own, and we spent N90m on the project, and that is what is saving us now because, by this time last year, all of us had moved out of the estate because of water.
“As I speak with you, we already see some leakages around the area of the embankment, and we want the government to do a solid concrete embankment and a pumping station for us.”
SaharaReporters, New York