..as minister distributes relief materials to victims
Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has said that adequate dredging and channelisation of the Ogun River would go a long way in curbing the perennial flooding of Isheri and its environs.
Governor Abiodun made the suggestion when he received the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. (Miss) Betta Edu, who paid him a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan Abeokuta at the weekend.
Abiodun also observed that water released from Cameroon contributed to the disaster
He said: “We have identified some immediate causes. We have the Oyan Dam, and it is being overseen by the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority. The Minister of Water Resources and that of State for the Environment were here to see for themselves as it was the consequences of that flooding.
“We identified together that the Dam itself contributed to the problem, and of course, it is not intentional because Dams were built to capture bodies of water that are in the channel. It serves as sources of water supply, irrigation, and also the control of flooding.
“The other part is that the Ogun River is channelled to go through the area in question. That channel itself requires proper channelization. There is evidence that the channel needs to be disilted. The Ogun River emptied into the Lagoon, so when you have the channel where people build houses on, when there is a downpour, when the Dam itself is opened, the water overflows.”
Governor Abiodun described this year’s flooding in the Isheri axis as the worse in recent times, saying it has affected commercial and social life of the people as residents now take refuge in camps of various religious bodies across the State.
He said though the area is flood plain, successive governments allocated the land for development purposes, saying the immediate concern of his administration was to look at the remote causes and the interventions that could be deployed to bring relief to the residents as government could not embark on demolition exercise as there are warehouses, different estates, businesses and schools in the axis.
While emphasizing the need for correctional work on roads in the axis, Governor Abiodun opined that the flooding is not localized as the State has to contend with water released from the Republic of Cameroon, noting that there is an urgent need to engage a Consultant to conduct proper study and come up with holistic plan that could lead to permanent and sustainable solutions to the problem.
Abiodun appreciated President Bola Tinubu for the laudable intervention programmes put in place to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal and the ones meant for the State, saying he would personally review the State’s Social Register to ensure fairness and inclusiveness.
“I have set up an expanded Committee under the Ministry of Budget and Planning and I have also expanded the participation to ensure that it is an inter-ministerial team working alongside Council Chairmen, religious bodies, to look at the list and ensure an inclusiveness and that it is the true representative of those that are in need.
“Soon the list will be ready, and the state will join the comity of states that are enjoying the programmes,” Abiodun submitted.
Speaking earlier, Edu said the federal government is considering the construction of buffer dams to control flooding around communities abutting the Ogun River.
The minister said she and her counterpart in the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation had discussed the issue at the last Federal Executive Council meeting on the need to have dams that would act as buffer to prevent further flooding in the axis.
She also hinted of the Federal Government’s plan to take 50 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 42 months and get every single person in the country out of poverty line by the year 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She lamented the recent flooding in many parts of the country, which she noted has pushed people into humanitarian crises and further pushed them down the poverty line.
Edu said she was in Ogun State to assess how the federal government could provide immediate succour in terms of relief to the affected people.
The minister noted that the government at the centre has put in place various programmes to meet the objectives it has set for itself in eradicating poverty in the country.
She also said she was in the state to have the sign off of Ogun State Social Register, which fits into the National Social Register so that people in the State could begin to receive the N25,000 Conditional Cash Transfer which has already started in other states of the Federation.
“Beyond this, we have carefully mapped out immediate interventions that will be carried out in Ogun State. Some are designed specifically for the state, like the Adire fabric scheme, with which we want to support women to produce the Adire. We also have the GIP programme, which is the market and traders, as well as the farmers’ money.
“We have the End-Hunger Programme, which will be started almost immediately. The State’s sensitization team would engage with the communities, market women, and the state government so that we can have a smooth flow of the interventions,” she said.
Edu said the federal government is also working with the state government to provide grants for the vulnerable women to set up their own businesses, adding that the GIP programme which is a zero interest loan to the vulnerable, is aimed at supporting the already existing programme being implemented in the State.
“The GIP is a zero interest loan to the vulnerable, but the grant will also be supporting a programme already being implemented here in Ogun State and all of these is targeted at seeing that we can achieve the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s instrument of getting 50 million people out of poverty within the next 42 months, while we work towards getting every single person out of poverty by 2030 which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is a transparent process that we want to use to build the confidence of Nigerians that President Tinubu truly means well for this country and want the interventions to go to the people that truly needs them,” the minister explained.
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