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Lagos: Mega-city project faces mega-threat

The roaring of the sky has always caused her to be nervous wherever she may be in any part of the metropolis. And whenever sky…

The roaring of the sky has always caused her to be nervous wherever she may be in any part of the metropolis. And whenever sky opens up, pouring water she literally takes her heart in her hands; praying that the rains do not cause that damage. But it seems that many a time her prayer is never answered as the water usually pour torrentially, sacking her and her three children from her late husband’s house.

 Mrs. Iyabo Adio, a widow, who lives at Ewenla Street Idimu in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos have had to abandon the home with her three children to live with friends or relations on several occasions when it rains because of flood, which usually takes over the premises of her house.

 For most residents of Lagos found in Mrs Adio’s conditions, the wet season is not always the best time of the year. It is a period which comes with the intimidating. When it happens, many homes are swamped, property worth millions are destroyed and sometimes human lives are lost as the flood tide sweep away everything in their it, leaving residents to recount bad tales

While most residents in various parts of Lagos bemoan their experience(s) since the rainy season started, commuters, transporters and vehicle owners also have varying tales to tell.  On Thursday, motorists in the city literarily went mad, yelling and jeering at one another as floods, caused by long hours of rains, slowed down vehicular movement during the rush hours. The rains, which started around 3:30pm in most areas in the metropolis, fell heavily for four hours, flooding most major roads and streets.

Our correspondent gathered that the floods which impeded free flow of traffic caused one of the traffic jams ever recorded in the metropolis in recent times.  And it was a drama of sorts, according to our correspondent, as most motorists threw caution to the wind, cursing one another as they manage to scale through the bumper-to-bumper traffic situation. The situation was made worst as officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA), who were battling to control the situation, later fled to take cover as the rains intensified.

As a result of heavy traffic, many commuters were stranded as most commercial busses operators in the motor park refused to carry passengers apparently to avoid being held up in the terrible traffic.  As a result of this, most residents of the metropolis got to their various homes late in the night. Many residents, told Weekly Trust they not understand why Lagos is still recording floods despite the demolition of houses by the state government in the name of de-flooding the city.

They are said if nothing concrete is done by the Fashola government to check the flood menace in Lagos, the state may lose its commercial advantages to Ogun and Oyo States.

Lagos, which is home to more than 13 million Nigerians, has always been faced with flood problem probably right from its creation. And the current administration in the state has always spent a huge sum of money to de-flood the city. But as much they claim to spend on checking the menace, it has always remained in the floods.

Experts linked the debilitating environmental conditions in Lagos State to a lack of adequate planning and continuous developmental scheme by the authorities concerned. Mr. Musodiq Adolagbe, an architect said a whole lot of factors can be adduced for the floods in many parts of Lagos. According to him, poor planning by the Town Planning Authority is a major one. The others, he said, are poor sewage design, stilted channelization, bad waste disposal habits, etc. He said “the state government should urgently embark on clearing all sewage and water channels in the state, which presently are blocked by debris.”

But the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Muiz Banire, however explained that what is being experienced in Lagos is not flooding per se but “flash flooding” caused by rise in the sea level making it impossible for the rainwater to discharge into the lagoon instantly.

“There is no flooding as far as I am concerned. So far we are on top of the situation. Except for areas on wet land, we have surmounted flooding in all the areas, except when there is a tidal lock and the intensity of rain is high. Eighty per cent of our channels are functioning optimally and we do not envisage any problem at all,” he said.

But Banire has failed to disclose why the sea is angry with Lagos. Experts say Lagos should have itself to blame for this because they say much of the state lies below sea level and despite this, the state government has embarked on an unprecedented land reclamation.  And the result is the enormous environmental damage.

It would be recalled that former Governor Tinubu in 2000 set up an agency called Drain Ducks to tackle flood. Not only that on assumption of office, Tinubu sent a clarion call to the private sector to help solve some of the perennial problems. Several companies were said to have responded, including HFP Engineering which along with others had undertaken to unblock the drainage system.

HFP Engineering in that move commissioned a N3 million drainage clearing contract for the removal of dirt and other wastes blocking the drainage in Victoria Island. But all these efforts, including the ones being done by Gov. Fashola, have failed to yield any fruits as flood still stares residents in the face like sore thump.

But Given Lagos State’s central position to the country’s economic well-being and its density, the situation requires urgent Federal Government action.