By Bisi Oladele
A heavy rain at the weekend destroyed some bridges and roads in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
There was no casualty or damaged property.
The 24-hour torrential between Saturday and yesterday casued major rivers and streams to overflow their banks.
A temporary wooden bridge in Apete, Ido Local Government Area, was washed away. The bridge served the community in lieu of a standard bridge the government is constructing in the area.
Last August 26, a torrential caused a flood in which about 100 residents were killed and properties, estimated at N2billion, were destroyed.
The Abiola Ajimobi administration began the dredging of 43 streams and rivers and the construction of bridges late last year and early this year to prevent a recurrence of last August disaster.
The government yesterday said its proactive action mitigated the effect of the flood.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation Bosun Oladele said the flood affected Odo-Ona/Apata and Oluyole Estate – where two bridges were damaged – as well as Orita Challenge, in Ibadan Southwest and Oluyole Local Government areas.
He said the government would urgently construct another pedestrian bridge to ease movement in the area.
The commissioner explained that the incident exposed some of the buildings blocking water channels, particularly at Orita Challenge.
Oladele said: “It seems as if we are driving the water. It is finding its way. Some of the structures that were not marked for demolition before were exposed and the government would have no choice than to continue with the demolition. But, on the whole, we thank God that no casualty has been recorded.”
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, the government said it dispatched a team of commissioners, Special Advisers, the state Emergency Management Agency officials, as well as the state fire fighters to the affected areas, following distress calls from the residents.
The team is expected to submit a report to the governor.
The statement said the team’s report would enable the government to assess areas of intervention as well as boost its flood-fighting mechanisms.
It said: “We are all living witnesses to the flood disaster of August 26, 2011. The government returned to the drawing board. It set up a panel to look into the overt and covert causes of the flood, to recommend appropriate solutions. The panel came out with the list of a total of about 2,500 houses, which it recommended for demolition. But the government, being a humane one, reviewed the number downwards, with the belief that massive dredging of rivers and streams as well as construction of bridges across the state, would ameliorate the situation. This we did and we thank God that the result is what we have now – a great reduction in the destructive powers of the flood.”
The government said it educated the residents and made a case at the World Bank.
“Because the task of reconstructing these bridges is so massive and is beyond the state government alone, immediately after last year’s flood, the governor met with officials of the World Bank and did a power-point presentation on the case of Ibadan flood disaster. The bank sent its representatives to the state for an assessment. The report has culminated in the bank, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Finance, agreeing in principle to grant the state government N200 million emergency relief, which is almost ready.
“Part of the fund would be spent to build a channel on the 30-kilometre Ona River and complete the Upper Ogunpa River. It would help the state in its waste management challenges: from storage, collection, transportation to disposal sites, to turn them into sanitary landfills and to begin a waste-to-wealth programme. An absence of these efforts has often been a major cause of flood disasters.”
According to the statement, the government will partner the World Bank on the Eleyele Dam.
The report came out after the partnership discovered that the Eleyele dam had not been silted in the last 47 years.
“A little over a week ago, Governor Ajimobi rushed to the World Bank office in Abuja, as a result of the predicted heavy rainfall. He made a presentation to World Bank officials in Washington DC through teleconferencing in Abuja to show the emergency of the Eleyele Dam. This led to the palliative measures taken by the state government in the reconstruction of Eleyele Dam’s broken slabs. Perhaps if this had not been done, the flood would have been more chaotic,” the government said.