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Aftermath Of Heavy Rain: Chaos, Lamentations As Flood Grounds Lagos



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IT was confusion and lamentation galore in Lagos, yesterday, as activities in most parts of the state were paralysed following early morning rains that left many neighbourhoods heavily flooded, with motorists trapped along major roads, including the ever-busy Third Mainland Bridge.

It was also blame galore, with many pointing accusing fingers at the state government for failing to enforce environmental protection laws and prosecuting those caught dumping refuse in drainage channels leading to their blockage and flooding whenever it rains.

For instance, an environmental expert and publisher of EnvironNews, a publication on environment issues, Mr Michael Simire, said: “About nine hours of torrential rainfall is a lot of water that is bound to cause some sort of havoc in a city like Lagos that has a considerable landmass below sea level and with numerous swampy areas that have all become built-up residential areas.

“The poor drainage network is worsened by the habit of dumping refuse in drainage channels which become blocked and lead to flooded neighbourhoods. Also, a considerable amount of structures in Lagos are built along drainage channels.

“Government should endeavour to clear and maintain the secondary and primary drainage channels so that they can accommodate run-offs from heavy rains like this one.”

Also reacting, a consulting town planner, Mr Ayo Adejumo said “Everything that was not planned will give bad or wrong results or lead to disasters such as flooding we experience all over Lagos now.

The lack of proper planning of our environment is giving us what we see now in our environment.

When the government spends money to do development plans and they are not implemented, ungodly situations like flooding is what we get because development plans take care of environmental issues like this and profer adequate mitigation measures.

“Lack of provision of dump sites as part of planning is also a factor causing flooding as residents of Lagos dump wastes and refuse in the drainage and water bodies thus blocking free flow of water.

“Inefficient physical development control is another major cause. People build to block water channels. Government, through its planning agencies, should not have allowed this.”

Some Lagos residents, who spoke with Vanguard, lamented that poor drainage system in some parts of the metropolis, such as Oworosonki, Oshodi, and Alimosho, among others, is the major cause of the perennial flooding situation in the state.

Expressing their displeasure with the flooding situation in the state, they called on the state government to come to their rescue.

A resident of Lekki, one of the worst hit by flood, lamented that the flooding in their area has become so massive lately that they are unable to leave their homes.

But speaking with Vanguard over a viral video where some residents were seen dumping refuse in the drainage, a Lagos State government official vowed that the suspect would be fished out and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

In the Ijesha area of the state, the state government sealed an apartment building whose occupants were seen throwing trash into the street.

The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab confirmed the development.

An X user, Adeoye Adetutu had posted a picture of some residents appearing to throw their trash out on the street, tagging the commissioner in the image.

Adetutu wrote: “(These) people just poured out their waste to the street water. This is no 2 Akewukewe Street beside Ikate Local Government in Ijesha Surulere.”

In response, Wahab requested that the matter be looked into by the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA.

In an update hours later, the commissioner said: “The house has been identified and locked immediately by the Environmental Health Service Department of Itire-Ikate LCDA.”

The torrential rain which more or less confirmed the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet, earlier prediction of thunderstorms and rains from Wednesday to Friday across the country, lasted for several hours.

Many residents whose houses were submerged in flood were seen bailing out storm water from their apartments.

Some commuters, who braved the rain by venturing out soon, found themselves stranded at flooded bus stops.

Also, many daring motorists had sad tales to tell as their vehicles broke down in the flooded highways in different parts of the city.

To add to the confusion and dismay, the combination of high-intensity rainfall and heavy flooding led to trees falling across some roads and roofs being blown off some buildings in parts of the metropolis.

Children, wards stopped from going to school

As a result of the downpour, some parents and guardians stopped their children and wards who are not currently sitting for examinations from going to school.

Indeed, some public and private schools recorded low turnout as pupils stayed away, while parents with vehicles were seen dropping off their children in their various schools.

Most hard hit by the heavy flooding were places like Ikeja, Agege, Ikorodu Road, Oworosonki, Egbeda, Oshodi, Funsho Williams, Lekki, Ajah, Obalende, among others.

Multiple videos and pictures which trended online captured areas such as the Iyana-Oworo, Olopo Meji area toward the Third Mainland Bridge submerged in flood, resulting in a chaotic traffic situation, extending as far Alapere, old Toll Gate, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway of the state.

Hoodlums collect levies from pedestrians in flooded areas

Some miscreants in the mostly affected areas took advantage of the situation to make quick money from innocent pedestrians by extorting them before allowing pedestrians to pass through improvised structures across flooded areas.

A video of one of the scenes captured saw miscreants laying siege under the Lagos Trade Fair, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, demanding the sum of N100 per individual before they could be allowed passage over the flooded part, claiming they provided the structures through their efforts and not government’s.

It was the same situation at Agege, Oshodi, Obalende and other areas monitored as hoodlums carried pedestrians on their backs for agreed fee ranging from N100, N200, and above across flooded points.

Meanwhile, some pedestrians, who felt they were being compelled to pay under duress, refused to pay, resulting in altercations with the hoodlums.

A resident in the Ojodu area of the state, Bode Alayande, said: “This situation is a recurrent experience annually in Lagos. So what would the government say it is doing to address this worrisome, life-threatening situation? The answer is obvious, practically nothing.”

Also, Mr Kayode Abolore, a businessman, who resides in Egbeda and works on the Island, recounted his experience.

He said: “I left home at about 6 am when the rain was still minimal. On getting to the Ejigbo area to connect Seven and Eight, the entire road was covered with stormwater as motorists and commuters were stranded.

I had to make a detour back home after about two hours of standstill with the rain getting more intense.

“I believe the flood was a result of blocked drainage channels. Local governments should be alive to their responsibilities by supporting the efforts of the state government.”

Reacting to yesterday’s downpour, the Lagos State Government called for calm from residents over the flash flood, saying despite the severity of the situation, there was no cause for alarm.

Wahab, in a statement, explained that Lagos has experienced about nine hours of non-stop rainfall since the early hours of Wednesday, coupled with heavy rainfall which the state has been experiencing daily since last week resulting in a rise in the level of the Lagos lagoon.

He said: “Lagos is a coastal city with almost one-third of its landmass underwater, as such necessitating a genuine reason for every resident to be more responsive to the state of the environment.

“The state government on its part has embarked on a-year-long maintenance and cleaning of all its secondary and primary collectors to be able to contain runoffs that may come from heavy rainfalls.

Residents on their part are expected to regularly clean and maintain the tertiary drains in front of their tenements and refrain from dumping refuse in the drains for the collective good of everyone.”

On the flood experienced around the Falomo area, Wahab said: “The contractors have deployed, and mobilized men to the blocked outlets to allow for seamless movement of stormwater.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet, had earlier predicted thunderstorms and rains from Wednesday to Friday across the country. NiMet‘s weather outlook released on Tuesday in Abuja predicted morning thunderstorms on Wednesday over parts of Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Taraba and Adamawa states.

NiMET said: “While afternoon/evening thunderstorms are expected over parts of Adamawa, Taraba, Jigawa, Kaduna, Yobe, Bauchi and Gombe states.

“Thunderstorms are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Benue and Niger states in the North Central in the morning. Later in the day, thunderstorms are expected over parts of Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kwara, the Federal Capital Territory and Benue states,”

According to NiMet, morning rains are expected over parts of Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Ogun, Abia, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states in the southern region.

It anticipated high prospects of continuous rains for Lagos which might lead to flooding. The agency forecast thunderstorms with rains over the entire region during the afternoon and evening hours.

It predicted morning thunderstorms over parts of Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna states on Thursday with thunderstorms over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Jigawa states later in the day.

“Thunderstorms are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Kogi and Niger states in the North Central in the morning. Later in the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue states.

“Morning thunderstorms with rains are expected over parts of Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Lagos, Delta, Abia, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in the southern region.

“Rains are expected over the entire region during the afternoon and evening hours, “it said.

NiMer predicted morning thunderstorms over parts of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Gombe states on Friday while thunderstorms are expected over the entire region later in the day.

It anticipated a partly cloudy atmosphere in the morning over the North Central region with thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue and Kogi states later in the day.

“Morning rains are expected over parts of Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in the southern region.

“In the afternoon/evening hours, rains are expected over the entire region during the afternoon/evening hours,” it said.

NiMet urged the public to take adequate precautions as strong winds might precede the rains in areas where thunderstorms were likely to occur.

It further urged the public to take note and take safety precautions in places where continuous rains were expected, flood incidences might occur.

It advised Airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

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