The Lagos State Government has directed officials of relevant agencies to ensure the immediate demolition of all illegal structures along drainage channels and alignments hampering the free flow of water in the state.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare gave the directive during on-going tour of dark drainage spots in the state reported to have been impacted by the heavy downpour over the weekend.
The tour which took the Commissioner and officials of his Ministry and those of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) to Sogunle-Ikeja, Ajiran in Lekki, Salawe/Taike in Ikosi-Ketu among other areas in the state, revealed that most of the flooded areas had been abused by refuse dumps, illegal structures on low lying areas, flood plains and drainage channels.
While conveying the sympathy of the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to the affected communities, the Commissioner assured the victims of the downpour that the Governor had ordered immediate interventions, including re-dredging of all drainages and canals impacted by the last downpour to prevent any loss of lives and property.
Dr. Adejare, at each community visited appealed to residents located on the state’s low-lying areas and flood plains to relocate to higher grounds, adding that “weather reports predicted heavier rainfall in the weeks ahead.”
The Commissioner restated that Lagosians should desist from dumping refuse into the drainage channels because the channels are meant to drain water and not waste. “I am appealing to residents not to dump refuse into the drains. We must manage our waste and package them well so that they don’t find their ways into the canals. Our men have been working on the canals since weekend”
He stated that Lagos State had 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, full mobilisation of Resident Engineers/Drainage Maintenance Officers to oversee drainage matters in all the Local Government Areas/LCDA’s across the State and regular Monitoring and oversight of other environmental challenge.
Allaying the fears of flooding, he said that “Lagos as a coastal state is susceptible to flash floods anytime it rained with high intensity and residents of low line areas were especially prone to the back flow effect. 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 floods will disappear”.
According to him, it is only when flood remains on the roads for days that a report on flooding can be filed. 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.
“You will recall that the Nigeria Meteorological Agency and Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency, in their 2016 Annual Flood Outlook 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’’, he added.
Adejare further 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, Sibiri etc, to always be on the alert, adding that when the need arises the government shall, as usual, notify such residents.
He added that low lying areas were vulnerable to flooding, and that they were natural courses of water which ought not to be converted to residential abodes.
Dr. Adejare said that most of the incidences of flooding experienced in the state were caused by human errors which could have been averted if there was attitudinal change and appropriate use of drainage channels.
The Commissioner listed some of the safety measures which should be adopted during heavy downpour to include:
• Avoid going out during the rains except only when it is absolutely necessary.
• Be conscious when driving and do not over speed. Ensure that your vehicles are in good condition.
• Avoid driving through flooded areas as it might be difficult to ascertain its depth.
According to him, ‘complaints can be forwarded to Mr. Olufemi Ajenifuja on the Ministry’s emergency lines -09095555580 and 09055555878”
Ministry of the Environment