The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, has directed officials in the ministry not to compromise in clearing shanties to ensure proper flow of water through drainage in the state before June 19.
Bello gave the directive during an inspection of the ongoing drainage clearance organised by the Lagos State Government on Saturday.
The commissioner was accompanied by the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Mr Joe Igbokwe, Permanent Secretary, Drainage, Mr Olalekan Shodeinde and other senior officials in the ministry.
The drainage areas include Ikoyi – Victoria Island, Bourdilon/Oyinkan Abayomi collector drain by Oyinkan Abayomi outfall, Awolowo road/Raymond Njoku/five cowrie by Raymond Njoku road, and Dodan Barraks/Norman Williams/Aunty Ayo/St. Gregory road/Awolowo road.
Other drainage channels visited are Musa Yar’adua, Bourdilon Channel by Dolphin Estate, Ijeh barracks collector drain Adeola Odeku, Akin Olugbade, Sapara Williams, Kofo Abayomi, Ozumba Mbadiwe, by the out fall on Ozumba Mbadiwe, Karimu Kotun and Akin Adeola among others.
He called for the removal of all the shanties around the setback of drainage channels at Victoria Island, saying that the present administration was committed to proffer a lasting solution to the issue of flooding across the state.
Bello explained that they would continue to visit all the drainage channels in the state to ascertain the true state of canals, drains as well as resolving every problem identified with flooding while listening to the residents.
He pleaded with illegal occupants to remove their belongings, to allow the ministry to pack all the silts in the drainage channels.
“The whole of Victoria Island is below the sea level, so automatically when it rains heavily, the water will accumulate and it takes time to drain.
“From all indications, we are satisfied with the clearance of drainage channels but for us to remove the silt, we need to remove all the gates mounted at the drainage entrance to protect encroachment and fix it back.
“We will continue working with residents’ associations because they are supporting the government with adequate information on indiscriminate trading around the area.
“We will continue the clean-up of illegal structures because we noticed that indiscriminate occupants have returned to the environment, taking advantage of the lockdown.
“We have given them some days to evacuate their property and they must leave. They cannot be selling and sleeping and also dumping their refuse inside the drains,” Bello said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser on the Drainage Services, Igbokwe said resident engineers from the ministry would always be around to work with the Community Development Association (CDAs) to ensure adequate monitoring after the completion of the clearance of the drainage channels.
Igbokwe said the ministry was working on 46 primary channels and 222 secondary channels, adding that they embarked on monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the level of work done.
He said that if they continue monitoring the drainage contractors’ jobs, they would be able to evaluate their operations and make necessary corrections before they finished their contracts.
Igbokwe decried infringement of setback around the drainage area, which had been affecting the removal of silt.
He urged residents to leave at least 10 to 15 metres away from the drain areas to enable passage while cleaning the drain.
The Permanent Secretary, Drainage Services of the ministry, Mr Olalekan Shodeinde, called on residents whose buildings were on government’s drainage alignment to be prepared to vacate such buildings as government would not relent in its effort to ensure a flood-free Lagos.
He said that the clearing had been designed to ensure that water flows through all the drainage channels unhindered all year round.
NAN also reports that virtually all the setback besides by the drainage channels at Victoria Island had been encroached by illegal occupants, who had turned them to residences and stores. (NAN)