The Lagos State Government has assured residents that it is doing everything possible to ensure that the reports of flooding in other parts of the country and the adverse weather predictions by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) do not impact negatively on the State.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare stated this during a media briefing on Year 2016 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions and its Socio-Economic Implications for Lagos State at the weekend.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency and Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency, in their 2016 Annual Flood Outlook released recently had warned that this year’s flooding would be higher than that of 2015. The predictions indicated that coastal cities like Lagos will experience “flooding, sea-level rise and tidal surges.” The Agency named Ogun- Osun as one of the River Basins in the country which will experience flooding, urging the communities in the adjoining plains to keep safe distances.
Adejare disclosed that the predictions of the Agencies are valuable as vital weather and early warning tools for planners, decision makers and operators of the various sectors and businesses that may be impacted by the annual rainfall, if not well managed.
Re-assuring Lagosians on the issue of floods, especially in a coastal area like Lagos, the Commissioner said that it is natural that, “sometimes when it rains, we are likely to have flashfloods on our roads as normal occurrences all over the world. As long as the drains are clean, we should be assured that, in a matter of time, the flash flood will disappear.”
According to him, it is only when flood remains on the roads for days that we can report that the place is flooded. It must be noted that, anytime the Lagoon level rises, it will “lock up” our drainage channels and until it recedes, there will be no discharge. Occurrences like these also cause backflows, resorting to flooding. But as soon as the Lagoon recedes, all the generated storm water will immediately discharge and our roads will be free.
He disclosed, “The long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority have moderated mutual control and monitoring of the steady and systematic release of water from Oyan and Ikere Gorge Dams by the Authority. This is a mutual relationship which we cherish and we shall continue to sustain. The low-lying Agiliti, Agboyi, Itowolo and Ajegunle communities in Lagos State are also being closely monitored with respect to the likelihood of Ogun River flooding.” The Ogun River is particularly monitored to ensure that the threshold or maximum level of 3.0 m above sea level is not achieved before the alarm of flooding is raised, Adejare said.
Giving the forecast for some parts of the state, the Commissioner also revealed that “Forecast for Ikeja, Ikorodu, Ikotun, Iyana-Ipaja, Kosofe, Marina, Ojo, Oshodi, Somolu, Surulere, Yaba and Lagos Island confirmed that onset date ranges betweenMarch 28th April 1st, while the season ending is predicted to range between December 2nd -5th 2016. Lagos State shall experience a rainy season of 248-253 days; the Maximum Annual Rainfall is predicted to be 1,857mm.”
According to him, the State has since last year embarked on massive clearing and dredging of primary and secondary channels /collectors in the State, expansion of existing drainage channels, in order to contain more storm water, lining of many earth channels, to ensure flow efficiency, strengthening of Resident Engineers/Drainage Maintenance Officers to oversee drainage matters in all our Local Government Areas/LCDA’s across the State and regular Monitoring and oversights of storm water.
Adejare appealed to Lagosians to desist from acts that can lead to flooding, indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places, clogging drains with silt or construction materials, erecting structures within and around drainage Right of Way and setbacks. According to him, “Lagosians are advised to report cases of blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorised places to our Resident Engineers.
The Commissioner revealed that the Motto of government this year is “Sustainability of a flood-free environment,” adding, “Irrespective of the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), we are preparing for the worst scenarios. He declared that, with the help of Almighty God and support of our people, no disaster shall visit us in Lagos. And we shall always keep to the promise of reducing incidences of flood to the barest minimum.”
Adejare advised Lagosians who reside along flood plains, coastal and low-lying wetland areas near major rivers e.g. Ikorodu, Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota, Shibiri etc, to always be on the alert and be ready to relocate, when the need arises. He maintained that government shall, as usual, notify such residents at the appropriate time. He also urged motorists to observe prescribed speed limits during the rainy reason, to avoid loss of lives and property.
The Commissioner remarked that government has ensured that its officials are available to attend to Lagosians. “Our Drainage Engineers will be “on ground” and be available in all our 57 Local Governments and Council Development Areas to attend to all our needs, during and after the rainy season. Their names, phone numbers and email addresses will once again be made available to members of the public, both in the print and electronic media, as well as on the state’s website.”
According to him, ‘complaints can be forwarded to Mr Olufemi Ajenifuja on the Ministry’s emergency lines -09095555580 and 09055555878”
Ministry of the Environment