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Recent cases of flooding in Lagos have shown no respect whatsoever for either low income communities or highbrow areas. Many places, such as Ikorodu, Ketu, Oshodi, Apapa, Ogba, Agege, Abule Egba, Egeda, Iyana Ipaja, among others, generally known to be occupied by people with low economic power, have been terribly affected by recent rains, but places exclusively meant for the affluent members of the society were equally not spared from the scourge of the raging flood.
Such places include general Ikoyi, especially places such as Cameroun Street, Glover road and Park View Estate, while other high brow places such as Lekki phase 1 and 2, as well as Adeola Hopewell in Victoria Island, among other places, were not left out.
According to environ-mental experts, much of the flooding in low-income areas on the Mainland, such as those mentioned above, are believed to be caused by unwholesome acts such as dumping of refuse in drainages, and constructing of structures along canals and other waterways.
However, same reason cannot be said concerning the highbrow centres where residents are generally believed to be more exposed and educated about how to take care of the environ-ment, and as such, many of them, unlike their Mainland counterparts, do not engage in the act of blocking drainages with refuse. Yet this category of people often experience massive flooding whenever it rains heavily.
According to information gathered by Property and Environ-ment, the population of Lagos has risen steadily over the years; 4,385,000 (1980), 7,742,000 (1990), 13,427,000 (2000) and 16,864,000 in 2010, while it has been projected to hit 23,172,000 by 2015.
“With increased popula-tion, Lagos’ fragile eco-system came under attack. The destruction of marshlands for building construction and squatter settlements on flood plains led to the destruction of the natural ecosystem.
“The result is that whenever there is heavy rainfall, the resultant flood waters can no longer evacuate naturally to the Lagoon. It descends on homes and other infra-structure indiscriminately erected on the flood path. It is obvious that the problem of flooding in Lagos started in the 1960s, when Nigerians took over the administration of Lagos,” a recent report by environ-mental experts revealed.
The question has therefore been raised as to why successive admini-strations have failed to solve the flood problem in Lagos. Especially, since the Lagos floods have been revealed not to be exactly due to excessive rainfall (The average rainfall in Lagos is about 1900mm, making it not to be the highest receiver of rainfall in Nigeria).
“What is experienced in Lagos is flash flood that results from absence of adequate drainage system to evacuate rain waters into the surrounding Lagoon. Lack of a sustainable flood plan to address this problem on a permanent basis is the main cause of the floods. If the authorities had given due attention to the issue of flood in Lagos over the decades, there would be no flooding in the city,” experts have suggested.
Speaking to Property and Environment, an environmentalist, Mr Segun Olushola, revealed that “Lagos is located in an area of flat relief which is almost at sea level, but sadly in a bid to creating more land for the construction of buildings, many of the swamps in Lagos which were natural reservoirs from other flowing water and creeks have been sand-filled.
“During the heavy rain, recently, the sand-filled area caused blockages, which in turn caused some areas in Ikoyi to be flooded massively,” said Mr Olu-shola, who insisted that this made many residents in the area to relocate their households elsewhere. He therefore called on the government to find lasting solution to this disaster.
Also, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, a renowned Lagos-based environmentalist, had recently expressed sadness about the flooding situation in Lagos State, while also lamenting the fact that Nigerians had altered the country’s landscape and river courses, thus making people vulnerable to sea level rise.
Majekodumi had also bemoaned the dredging and sand filling of wetlands and buffer zones in Lagos, disclosing that they had massively contributed to ecological disasters in the state.