The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, on Sunday, vowed that the State Government will continue to ramp up enforcement operations across the State to restore setbacks and drainage alignments towards preventing flooding.
The Commissioner, who asserted at Magodo, when he led the Environment team on an inspection tour of some enforcement sites at Dodan Barracks, Norman Williams Rd, the Bucknor Oke-Afa channel in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government and Magodo, reiterated that enforcement will be a continuous exercise geared towards making the State flood free.
He maintained that the activities of the Ministry are on the field, hence the reason why he leads from the front. “We come out every day and also push our people and officers out because we are a public-facing Ministry and we must continually enforce compliance”, he said.
Wahab, who was accompanied by Special Adviser, Environment, OlaKunle Rotimi Akodu, Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Gaji Omobolaji and some directors from the Ministry, said the present administration was at the forefront of promoting and enforcing a flood-free Lagos.
Speaking on what transpired at the Oke Afa/Bucknor location in Oshodi Isolo where several buildings on the drainage setback have been pulled down after delays in enforcing the law, adding that some of the residents sued the State to prevent it from reclaiming the setback. The case was, however, struck out, enabling the Ministry to act decisively in the interest of the generality of the people so the contractor that would work on the secondary collector could be mobilised to the site
He said it was regrettable that all the houses built on the setback had no drainage clearance.
“Houses were found to have been built and in the process, they closed up the natural path of water but will later turn around to accuse the government of inaction concerning flooding”, he said.
The team also inspected Dodan Barracks/Norman Williams Channel, to ascertain the level of compliance concerning the enforcement of setback for the secondary collector in the axis as well as to decide how to clean and desilt the blocked collector that has affected the State House.
He averred that major cleaning still needs to be done at Norman Williams/ Awolowo Road Channel but the flood situation has reduced drastically, adding that in the new week equipment would be deployed to the channel to be cleared inward the lagoon.
According to him, People should do a proper charting of their land to know where their land is situated, whether commercial or residential or mixed area before building, saying all requirements must be met before construction commences.
At Amuwo Odofin, Wahab inspected the Sewage Treatment Plant that is expected to serve the residents, adding that an issue regarding joint usage of the location has been settled and that the Wastewater Agency would take over the facility next week.
The Commissioner and his team also visited the Magodo Wetland site to check the state of the natural wetland in the Estate and directed that a signpost should be erected there to ward off people who intend to take over and build on the wetland.
“We don’t want a repeat of what is being experienced at Isheri-Oshun, if such is allowed, what will be experienced will surely be more disastrous compared to what is being experienced in Isheri-Oshun axis now”, he warned.
The Special Adviser on Environment Mr. Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu stated that the Sanwo-Olu administration is determined to prevent further loss of lives and properties occasioned by flooding and that was what necessitated the continuous reclamation of drainage alignments across the state in the first place.
He said the reclamation of these Drainage Channels would contribute to a sustainable environment and a quality living environment for everyone, adding that the cooperation of all residents was necessary for a flood-free and sustainable environment.