Residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, have called on the state government to urgently remove buildings and other obstructions along waterways to avert disaster in the state.
Some residents who spoke with newsmen at the flooded popular Unity bridge on AbdulWahab Folawiyo road expressed concern over the perennial flooding in the areas bordering Asa River in the capital city.
They blamed the development on the erection of buildings and shops along waterways and other encroachments on the setbacks, thereby blocking free flow of water.
A trader, Mr Micheal Alfred, urged the government to direct owners of the offending buildings to vacate immediately in order to safe lives and property.
Alfred said flooding has hampered business activities in the area and deserves to be given the needed attention.
“The water always disturb us here whenever it rains. We want the government to do something urgent about it. For those that built on waterways, the government should ask them to quit. They should vacate the buildings. Government must do something about it,” he said.
Another resident of the area, David Ayotunde, on his part, also appealed to the government to find lasting solution to perennial flooding along Asa River at Unity and other parts of the state.
“We want the government to help us here. The government should remove the buildings on waterways to guarantee free flow of water,” he added.
A shop owner, Mr Adeniyi Fabunmi, called for the dredging of Asa River to ensure free flow of water, attributing flooding in some parts of the state to the buildings on the waterways.
The State Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, who made an on-the-spot assessment to the area on Monday, noted that the government has directed the Town Planning and Development Authority to reassess the area and recommend appropriate measures to tackle the flooding.
He said: “We need to do something to guarantee free flow of water. So, we have called on the Town Planning Development Authority to advise us on how to go about it. We must also ensure that the Asa river is dredged to ensure free flow of water.”
Mr Alabi, who promised that the government would take decisive actions to safeguard lives and property of the citizens, urged the public to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse, particularly on the river.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Isiaka Al-Amin, said government would take proactive measures to avert disaster in the state.
He urged residents not to throw dirts in the drainages or build on waterways, saying that building on waterways could lead to further destruction of properties.
“Don’t throw dirt on waterways or build on waterways – whether man-made or natural one. The solution lies in the people and the government too must take proactive measures to ensure that those on waterways vacate the places,” according to him.
“We will continue to appeal to our people for attitudinal change before taking any punitive measure.”