By CHRIS EKEKE, Abuja
Following the devastating flooding ravaging the state, Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has threatened to demolish structures on waterways and floodplains obstructing the free flow of rivers in the state.
The threat by the governor is coming on the heels of revelation by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) that no fewer than 300 houses were affected in the five hours downpour while property worth millions of naira were destroyed in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The governor spoke when he went round for on-the-spot assessment of areas affected by the rampaging flood that submerged some buildings and other valuables in some areas in Ibadan after a five-hour downpour.
The places visited include Orogun, Shasha Alfonso, Egberi and Oki Rivers in Olodo, and Onipepeye, all within Ibadan.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo, was in company of officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, led by the Zonal Coordinator (South-West), Mr. Yakubu Sulaimon.
He admonished the residents to desist from bad habits that have been found to cause flooding, noting that the soul of every citizen and their property were precious and would be protected by the government.
Apart from the ongoing dredging of river channels, he said other preventive measures would be taken to prevent the ugly experience of the past when flooding caused monumental loss of lives and property in Ibadan.
“When the government says don’t build on waterways or river course, some people always say that the government is wicked. This (flooding) is the result of disobedience to such directive.
“Henceforth, we are not going to condone such transgression. All structures on waterways will have to give way. We are not going to open our eyes and allow our people to be victims of any disaster.
“Even, a single soul is very important to us and we are not going to allow lives to be lost to avoidable disasters because we don’t know what such person will become in the future. I sympathize with those that were forced to vacate their homes because of flooding.”
Also speaking the Zonal Coordinator South-West, the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Yakubu Sulaimon said that it is still collating the number of families displaced and means of livelihood destroyed,
saying the major cause of the flood was indiscriminate dumping of refuse in rivers and erecting of illegal structures on waterways and flood path.