The Lagos State Government has assured residents that it will do everything possible to ensure that the reports of high rainfall which may result in flash flooding in some communities along Ogun-Osun River and the adverse weather predictions by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) do not impact negatively on the citizens.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare stated this during a media chat on Year 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions and its Socio-Economic Implications for Lagos State at the weekend.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency in its 2017 Annual Rainfall Predictions released recently had alerted that there would be an increased frequency of extreme weather events which connote that year 2017 would likely experience days with extremely high rainfall amounts which would result in flash flooding.
Adejare said according to NiMET predictions, Lagos rainfall amount was expected to have a normal rainfall amount while neighbouring States like Ogun and Oyo would have above normal rainfall.
According to the Commissioner, the predictions indicated that that Lagos would have an early rainfall onset date by 3-7 days range while flooding was expected to occur within communities residing along the course of the Ogun-Osun River in the State as a result of the above the normal rainfall from Ogun and Oyo.
He mentioned that Ikeja in Lagos, according to the predictions, was expected to have a rainfall onset date of 18th March with a margin of error of three days while its cessation date was expected to be 3rd of December. Ikeja would also have about 260 days of rainfall and about 1362mm of rainfall in year 2017 as compared to an actual of 170 days and about 1000-1250mm of rainfall in year 2016.
Adejare said that the report indicated further that Lagos Island was expected to have a rainfall onset date of 20th March with a margin of error of three days while its cessation date is expected to be 7th of December. It is also expected that Lagos Island will have about 262 days of rainfall and about 1612mm of rainfall over the year.
Adejare disclosed that the predictions of the Agency were valuable as vital weather and early warning tools for planners, decision makers and operators of the various sectors and businesses that might 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 Lagos State Government has a long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority and this has resulted to a 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 Commissioner said that 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,
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 pointed out that the way to go this year is the Cleaner Lagos Initiative which will ensure a flood-free, hygienic and aesthetically beautiful 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 urged advertising and communication agencies to be cautious and ensure the safety of billboards and telecommunication mast as a result of the strong winds expected during the onset and cessation of every rainfall.
Similarly, he advised aviation industries to take note that the predicted harmattan will cause reduction in visibility which will lead to flight disruption and loss of revenue due to delays and cancellations.
He remarked that all relevant security and emergency agencies would be adequately informed to be ever ready for any negative effects of flooding. ”All emergency agencies, traffic management agencies and other emergency related outfits will be put on the alert to assist in reducing the havoc that may arise from the incidents of flooding in the State.”
Adejare assured Lagosians that that the officials of Lagos State Government 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.”