The Ogun State Government has said the campgrounds of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, and the Deeper Christian Life Bible Ministry in the state are open for residents displaced by the coastal floods currently ravaging the state.
The state Commissioner of environment, Mr Oladimeji Oresanya, in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday urged residents who were willing to leave the areas to contact the state emergency response teams and the National Emergency Management Agency, who would send their officials to help them leave.
Following the floods in the area occasioned by rising sea levels, rainfall and the release of water from the Oyan dam, no fewer than 100 landlords have had to abandon their homes, fleeing the havoc.
A landlord in the area, Mr Paschal Uchendu, said he had to flee his home on Friday (yesterday) so as not to be caught up by the issues
In an interview with our correspondent on Friday, he said, “This one is even worse than the flood of 2019. From my assessment, this is the worst we have seen so far. It has even cut off a section of the Warewa Road.
“People are leaving already. Most landlords left three days ago when it started. I personally left today (Friday) after the flood entered my house. The flood has covered everywhere in the area.
“We are about 20 landlords in my own area, and the houses there are over 100. You can imagine the number of families that have been displaced as a result of this problem.”
A landlord and Chairman, Riverview Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association, Mr Abayomi Akinde, said the floods had affected his estate tremendously, adding that a lot of homeowners have fled.
“A lot of havoc is being done at the moment. As I speak to you now, I am wading through water, not on the street, but in my living room. My entire house has been overtaken by the floods.
“I am lucky I have a space upstairs. Some are not as lucky. Everyone has fled. The only thing that has made me remain is that I cannot just leave my house like that.
“There are some people that the floods entered into their homes through the window. The water level is so high. It is a very devastating occurrence that needs not to have happened at all,” he said.
He noted that former President, Goodluck Jonathan, visited the area on October 20, 2013, and made a lot of promises to address the issue, which, according to him, has not been fulfilled.
“The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, also visited the area in 2019 and I had the honour to speak to him directly. He promised to fix the problem with infrastructure but nothing was done. All the measures taken are from resident associations and other political stakeholders in the area,” Akinde added.
Reacting, the environment commissioner, Oresanya, said residents in the area had since been advised by the government to evacuate their homes or elevate them to suit the terrain.
He, however, noted that residents who were willing to leave could call the state’s emergency centres on 08036401944 and 09010480056, adding that the emergency respondents would come to help evacuate them to the church hostels.
He said, “We have advised that people living around the coastal areas to either evacuate or elevate their homes or roads. This means they can raise their houses, floors, or roads.
“The government has made provision. Most of the churches around Ogun State have hostels that they can use, and they are open to the displaced residents.
“We have already discussed with the likes of RCCG, MFM, and others, and they have opened up their hostels for us in the state so that people who want to relocate can move to those areas temporarily for one or two months.
“The state emergency management agency, as well as NEMA, is on the ground to provide relief material to our people.”
He also added that he had gone physically to tell the residents of these coastal areas to leave as there was nothing the government would be able to do about infrastructure at this time since the floods were already here.
Speaking on the causes of the perennial flooding in the area, Oresanya said it was wrong to attribute it only to the release of water from the Oyan dam in the state.
Lagos allays fears
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, on Friday, allayed the fears of residents along the Ogun-Osun river bank following reports of flooding experienced in these affected areas.
He assured the residents of the state’s preparedness to contain any eventuality that may arise with the intensity of the flow of the runoff water from the upland into Lagos.
Wahab who made this remark while fielding questions from journalists during a press briefing on the recent flooding situation along the basin of the Ogun River and lagoon coastline held on Friday at the conference room of the ministry said it had become important that homeowners within these areas relocate immediately to higher grounds.