14th October, 2011
The Lagos State government has appealed to residents living in flood-prone areas in the state to flee as the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has predicted heavier rainfall this month.
The government warned that it is better for residents in such areas to relocate to safer places to avert another disaster like the Sunday, 10 July, 2011 flood that ravaged Lagos.
The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu gave this warning on Thursday in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
According to Oke-Osanyintolu at the event marking the World Disaster Reduction Day, it was not safe to build or rent houses in wetland areas, saying that the government could not forcibly eject such people but that they have to leave on their own.
Oke-Osanyintolu warned the residents in such areas to quickly quit to avoid disasters, which he said, could be more devastating if they did not heed the warning.
â€œThe state government is being careful. We have been sensitising the residents across the state. We have been asking them not to build houses or rent apartments on wetlands or flood-prone areas. Such areas are death zones which are not meant for residential purpose.
â€œThe policy thrust of the state government is safety first. We have been working hard to achieve the goal. We have set up grassroots emergency management committee and school emergency management committee so as to tackle the root causes of what might culminate in the emergency crisis.
â€œWe are building our early warning sign system. We have been removing all the structures constructed on the canals and channels across the state. We are creating awareness on how the stateâ€™s residents can effectively use emergency numbers (767 or 112), which are toll-free and attract no cost,â€ he said.
He added: â€œWe have started building another relief camp in Igando in preparation for future disasters. We will want to ensure drastic reduction in future flood disasters in the state and have started a post-disaster behavioural change programme to examine the victimsâ€™ state of mental health.â€