The Lagos State Government, over the weekend, alerted residents on impending heavy rainfall from the end of August, saying it is intensifying measures to minimise the effects on Lagosians.
Addressing the press at Alausa, the Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello said work is ongoing on more than 200 secondary channels with over 80 percent at various stages of completion, just as 46 primary channels are presently receiving attention.
He disclosed that the ongoing projects are in addition to the continuous work of the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) deployed round the State to undertake quick fix to free manholes or clogged drains manually.
The Commissioner averred that one of the new measures put in place to combat flash flooding is the provision of pumping stations, with a pilot model being planned for Ilubirin in Lagos Island, explaining that the stations will promptly pump out of the water from flooded neighbourhoods to reduce the risk of damages to property.
Bello said major flood-prone areas in the State that are natural buffers to the lagoon, like Isheri and its environs, Owode, Agboyi-Ketu, will also benefit from the initiative.
In his words: “For a coastal city like Lagos, once it rains consistently for a minimum of eight hours, we are bound to have flashflood caused by the increasing inability of effective discharge into the lagoon which is brought about by a rise in the ocean level”.
“This will automatically lock up all our drainages and until the water level goes down, the drainages would be unable to discharge. This is what happens in most coastal cities around the world, including those who have adopted the best of technological advancements to curtail flooding”, he added.
Relying on data from the Nigerian Hydrological Services, Bello said the months of July, August, September and October, also known as ‘JASO’ months, signify heavy rainfall, flooding and flood disasters in most parts of the country.
He reiterated that while States like Ogun and Ekiti suffer from urban and river flooding, Lagos is at the receiving end of three types of flooding – coastal, urban and river flooding because of the peculiarity of its location.
Disclosing that the management of the Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority has also commenced the staggered release of water from the Oyan Dam, with eight to 10 Million cubic metres being released in August, Bello said the volume will increase to 18 million in September and 23 million cubic metres in October which is the peak.
While appealing to residents of low-lying areas that are contiguous to the Ogun River to be alert to the possibility of their homes being flooded as water is released from the dam, the Commissioner urged residents to adopt an attitudinal change of not dumping refuse in drainage channels and erecting structures on drainage alignments, vowing to prosecute offenders.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, maintained that the effort to contain flood is the responsibility of everyone and should not be left to the government alone.
He enjoined Lagosians to collaborate with the State Government by cleaning the drainages in their frontages and desisting from indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places.
“I would like to appeal to Lagosians to always play their part in the cleaning of the environment. This must be a collective effort, so residents should ensure they take responsibility for what is going on around them”, Igbokwe said.
He sounded a note of warning to those engaging in these unwholesome acts to desist, saying that the Ministry has empowered its environmental enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute sanitation offenders in Lagos.
Igbokwe, however, enjoined residents to report all cases of drainage blockages, dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorised places to the appropriate authority, noting that “by so doing you are complementing the State Government efforts on the environment”.