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|Lagos In Flood Dilema by chucky234(m): 10:11am On Aug 12, 2012|
The rainy season is here, and
characteristic of Lagos State, many
communities will be at the mercy of the attendant flood.
To forestall avoidable disaster, the state government in early July, directed over 10 flood-prone communities in the state to vacate their areas for some weeks because they may be swept away by rampaging flood.
The communities include Owode,
Badiya, Aboru, Iwaya, Arowojobe in
Maryland, Ajegunle Elede, and some
parts of Eti-Osa.
The government had warned that the
rains would be heavy and urged the
communities to leave their areas for the period to prevent loss of lives and
property as the intense rain would be
accompanied by thunderstorm.
“Lagosians residing in low line areas
particularly along lagoons, drainage
channels, river courses and wetlands of the state are advised to vacate their present residence and relocate upland within the next two weeks which is the peak period of this year’s rainy season in order to avoid discomfort, loss of lives and property,” Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Tunji Bello, had said.
“The reality of today is that we are now in the season of unusual rains globally with similar experiences happening in the United Kingdom, US, Japan and Bangladesh.
“The idea of relocation is a global
practice peculiar to developed nations
of the world in anticipation of expected natural disasters like hurricane, typhoons, heavy rains, etc. which is common to countries like the United States, Japan, etc, while residents of affected areas relocate back to their original homes when the natural occurrences subside.
“In line with this global practice,
Lagosians who reside along low line
areas are therefore advised to relocate
to upland in order to avoid further
discomfort. This is in consonance with
our earlier warning in the year”, he
Bello sympathized with residents who
are likely to experience discomfort
during the period and urged Lagosians not to panic as the government has intensified its mid-rain cleaning exercise and would continue to put in place measures that would reduce the
flooding in the state.
The commissioner recalled that Lagos
had recorded several rains since the
beginning of the year, without severe
consequences. However, he explained
that in cases of intense rainfall of over
10 hours, the likelihood of discomfort
was high as the lagoon would have
risen, thereby making it impossible for the discharge of storm water, thus
leading to a backflow which might
result in flooding.
Residents’ reactions Following the government’s advice, the questions that agitate the minds of those in affected areas are as diverse as they are complex.
In Iwaya, some of the landlords frowned at the pronouncement while others proffered solution to the perennial flooding in the state.
According to Chief Kolade Akinlagun,
who lives on Ogundimu Street, the
residents are not contemplating
moving out of the area. He blamed the government for compounding the
flooding in the state due to its
“Where do we go? The problem is that
the entire Lagos State is waterlogged.
Rain has been here for ages but what
the government is doing now is
compounding the flooding in the state.
“The government should stop filling the lagoon, because once water has
nowhere to go after rainfall, it leads to
flooding. If the government wants to
develop the state, it should look for
barren land, not lagoon”, he advised.
Chief Akinlagun found allies in Chiefs
Shem Ibinuolapo and Lawson Iyamolere who re-echoed his views.
“Where do we move to? If we move, the whole of our local government area will be filled up”, they said.
They also wondered why the directive
was not backed by alternative
temporary abodes for those likely to be affected since they pay all kinds of
levies to the government at local and
The Chairman of Landlords Association in Ogundimu Street, Andrew Alagba, said that the residents were prepared to weather the storm since there is no
alternative place for them. As a result,
he said they always have regular
meetings to strategize on how to
handle the any drainage problem that
might eventually occur in the area in
case there is torrential rainfall.
“No movement for now. We are trying
to work on our drainage. We will face
the rain”, he said, adding that even if
flooding occurs during rainfall, it
quickly flows out after the rain.
Others who live in Ogunbiyi, Yeye, Odo Ogbe and Idowu Ogunde areas seemed resolved to face the trauma if it eventually happens because in the
words of a resident, “we don’t have
anywhere to go.”
Also, in Owode, the residents
expressed concern about the possibility of flooding when it rains but seemed not too troubled about the government’s advice. According to them, they have no alternative place to go and as such, would stay back. They are however praying that God should take control and protect them.
“Everything is in God’s hands”, said
some of the residents.
Residents of Arowojobe in Maryland
were not enthusiastic about the
relocation directive but their case
seemed settled for now, as the State
Task Force on Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit) recently demolished structures close to the drainage route.
Mr. Daniel Kunde, a resident in
Jakande, Ajah in Eti-osa Local
Government Area, said that it was
preposterous for the government to
suggest relocation without any form of assistance.
“Where do we go from here? I am
staying in a rented accommodation. I
do not have the resources to take a
new apartment now. I don’t have
relations here in Lagos. Do I then
relocate with my family to my village in Bayelsa State and abandon my job?”he wondered.
He reasoned that if the federal and the state governments valued the
residents’ lives, they ought to provide
settlement camps for those that would be affected. For him, it is crass
insensitivity to issue an evacuation
notice without alternative.
He urged the National Emergency
Management Agency (NEMA) to wake
up from its slumber arguing that
disaster management goes beyond
distribution of mattresses, food items,
drugs and other relief packages to
Kunde opined that NEMA should be
proactive in managing disasters by
providing temporary camps for those
asked to evacuate their homes.
But in Gaskiya community in Apapa-
Iganmu Local Council Development
Area, Sunday Sun gathered that a
significant number of people likely to
be worse hit by flooding have moved
out. Alhaji Saka Olabanji, an ex-officio
of Gaskiya Community Development
Association, stated that the decision
did not however come easy as some
people took ill while contemplating
where to go.
“Some of them are already moving. But many have developed heart attack wondering how they would cope leaving a place they have lived for years, to another place”, he said.
At Orisunbare and Daramola streets,
the exodus was obvious. Many houses
in Daramola street, have become
desolate even though a massive
drainage system is being constructed
in the area.
The Chairman of Afolabi/Alasia
Community Development Association
under which the settlement falls, Alhaji Ganiu Ibrahim, also confirmed that a good number of people have left the area.
“Many people have moved but some
said they would not move”, he said,
adding that he would not blame those
that elected to stay, come rain or shine.
“Where do you want them to move to? When people have lived for more than forty years in a place, where do they go? Our grandchildren know no other place”.
He said that many more people might
move and come back after the rainy
season, if the government would
provide alternative settlements.
He appealed to the government to
tackle the flood menace in the state
and ensure the completion of ongoing
drainage construction in the area.
Alhaja Fatima Adebayo, also a member of the CDA, maintained that it was not easy to suddenly relocate, and therefore, urged the government to work on the nearby canal to ensure free flow of water and avoid flooding in the area.
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