The Osun State Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, has urged the residents of the State to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse particularly in the streams, rivers, drainages and waterways, calling on them to imbibe the spirit of personal hygiene.
Oyetola called for attitudinal change among the residents to waste disposal and management, saying government was committed to continually ensuring a flood-free State.
Governor Oyetola spoke on Wednesday during his unscheduled tour of some of the rivers, streams and waterways under dredging and channelisation in Osogbo, the State capital.
It will be recalled that Osun is one of the few States warned recently by the officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to prepare for an imminent flood between the month of August and October this year.
According to the NEMA Director of Operations in charge of Osun, Ekiti and Ondo States, Mr. Olusegun Afolayan, 28 States and 102 Local Government Areas in the country risked being flooded due to the impending heavy rainfall in the country.
Addressing the journalists shortly after the inspection tour as a proactive response to NEMA directive, Governor Oyetola averred that his administration had come up with a sustainable way of managing its rivers, streams and waterways to forestall possible flood incidence.
He said government would not relent in its efforts to continue to open up its rivers and channelise its waterways and streams to ensure free flow of water across the nooks and crannies of the State.
“First and foremost, apart from the fact that some States were warned on the possible floodings in some parts of the country, our administration has been proactive in its efforts to ensure proper control of flood in the State.
“What we are doing here is what we have been doing. We are doing this to ensure that we do not experience flooding in our State. Ordinarily, dredging has become a routine exercise that we do on a regular basis. We dredge our streams, waterways and carnals in anticipation of flood.
“So, I am impressed with what I have seen and with this, we shouldn’t be thinking of flooding around this axis. This exercise is not limited to this place, it cuts across the strategic places across the State, particularly flash points”, Oyetola said.
When asked of the number of rivers and waterways to be dredged to forestall the predicted flood disaster, Oyetola said the State had identified 17 critical areas to be dredged and channelised.
He added that other flash points such as rivers, drainages and streams which were not part of the regular dredging routine had been incorporated to ensure that the State is free from any form of flood disaster.
Oyetola said: “We have some flash points where we believe there would be flood. They are critical areas that we do dredge and aside that, there are other pockets of areas like streams, rivers and waterways that we used to dredge to avoid flood.
“This is an ongoing thing, we shall continue to do it to ensure that we do not have loss of life or property in our State. In some years past, one could experience floodings, but today I can say it categorically that there is nothing as such because it has become a thing of the past”.
The Governor commended the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the All Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Osun chapter, for their prompt and timely efforts to ensure that the State is safe and secure from flood disaster.
“I must commend the Ministry of Environment and sanitation as well as ALGON for their collaborative efforts.
“I want to appeal to our people not to dump refuse on the waterways, streams or rivers but rather the designated areas. It is an appeal. We don’t want anyone to lose his or her life. We have several means of disposing wastes. We should not dump them indiscriminately because if you prevent water from flowing, it will always find its way”.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment and Sanitation, Mr. Rufus Oyegbile extolled the Governor for taking the lives and property of the citizens as a priority.
He enjoined the residents of the State to adhere to the personal and basic hygienic tips designed to prevent flood, warning them against unlawful disposal of waste in undesignated spaces.
The Governor was accompanied by his Deputy, Mr Benedict Alabi; Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adeleke Adebayo; and Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode among other members of the State Executive Council.