Ogun State Government on Sunday raised the alarm over imminent flooding and warned its residents to prepare for heavy rainfall this year.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Bolaji Oyeleye, who spoke at a press briefing in Abeokuta, the state capital, said this year’s seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) revealed that states, such as Ogun, Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Kwara, Oyo and Adamawa are to experience “above normal rainfall.”
He said the NiMet prediction also revealed that extended rainfall between three to eight days are also expected in the listed states.
The government, therefore, strongly advised residents, especially those living close to canals and drainages, to desist from dumping refuse inside drainages and canals, as this could hinder free flow of water and further aggravate flooding.
According to him, the prediction could cause heavy release of water from the major two dams – Oyan and Ikere Gorge – and this could further aggravate flooding in the state.
Quoting the NiMet prediction, the commissioner specifically listed some major places to experience heavy rainfall in the state to include Abeokuta, with 242 days of 1,295mm rainfall; Ewekoro, 229 days of 2,075mm; Ijebu-Ode, 245 days of 1,526mm; Ikenne, with 240 days of 1,742mm; Ipokia, 247 days of 1,872mm; Otta, 243 days of 1,810mm; and Sagamu, with 240 days of 1753mm rainfall.
Oyeleye disclosed that the NiMet also predicted that many Nigerians would likely experience “above danger heat stress this year, due to combination of heat and humility.”
He added: “The impact is that exposure to excessive heat for too long could cause heat stress, which may in turn lead to several illness, collectively called hyperthermia.”
The commissioner warned that task force officials of the ministry would be going round the state to enforce environmental laws, stressing that the ministry would demolish any house built on waterways.
Coordinator of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Aremu Adebakin, said the agency had started sensitising residents on likely occurrence of flooding.
He stressed that those living close to riverbanks have been asked to relocate for the period of the rainy season to avoid loss of lives and property.
Adebakin also urged people living in dilapidated buildings to renovate them or evacuate as soon as possible and not wait for disasters to strike and expect the government to come to their aid.