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LASG hands over drainage maintenance to councils, residents

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Government has handed over the cleaning and maintenance of all tertiary drains to Local Government Councils and residents across the state.

It said that it was the constitutional role of the councils and residents to clean and maintain tertiary drains towards preventing the occurrence of flooding in the state.

The government stated that while the council and residents care for the tertiary drains, it would concentrate on the maintenance of the primary and secondary drainage system across Lagos.

Announcing the development on Wednesday, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, while addressing participants at a stakeholders meeting, held in Ikeja on the maintenance of tertiary drains, tasked the councils to do more on maintenance and cleanliness tertiary drains within their domain.

Bello told the gathering, attended by some local Government Chairmen, that maintenance of tertiary drains could also be used to generate employment through engagement of some unemployed youths within the councils to clear the drains and also maintain it at a cost that would not be prohibitive.

He frowned at the present situation where the State is still being forced to maintain tertiary drains in addition to the primary and secondary drains, stressing that there is an urgent need for all the Council Chairmen to monitor and put pressure on respective tenements in their areas to regularly maintain and clean all tertiary drains across the State.

The Commissioner disclosed that environmental health officers at the Local Government levels must be also be sensitised while the number of personnel is increased to effectively monitor the compliance level of residents in terms of cleaning of tertiary drains.

He said the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) has been responsible for cleaning several tertiary drains and black spots because they function as the quick response arm of the State Government in freeing several clogged up drains from waste and silts.

Revealing that the EFAG works on about 6,547 meters of tertiary drain channels on a weekly basis, Bello said the team had cleaned up tertiary drains measuring about 307.7 kilometres across the State since it was reintroduced in October 2019.

Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, commended the initiative to host the assembly, stating that the meeting would create avenues on how better synergy can be created between the State and Local Governments.

He expressed optimism that the efforts of the Local Councils would complement the activities of EFAG in maintaining more tertiary drains, noting that Lagos has remained largely flood-free all year long due to the persistent efforts of the Office of Drainage Services.

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Engr. Lekan Shodeinde said the time has come for Local Councils to take up their constitutional role in terms of maintenance of tertiary drains.

He said the narrative has to change now as all hands must be on deck to ensure a flood-free Lagos in line with the vision of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

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