Features Write-Ups


As part of efforts to actualise its promise to sustain a flood-free State, the Lagos State Government has intensified dredging/cleaning of major drainage channels and canals across the state.

 Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab disclosed this when he led other top state officials on another inspection tour to some parts of the state.

He noted that the redesigning and reconstruction of the system 44 drainage channel after the removal of structures on the setback will prevent flooding in the Lekki axis when the rains commence.

Addressing newsmen after the tour, Wahab described the system 44 drainage, which is about five kilometres, as a major channel that cuts across Lekki Scheme II, Gedegede Community, Ikota GRA, Cluster I/Ivy Homes and Megamond Estates. He, thus, stated that the system is being cleaned to ensure it functions properly throughout the year.

He added that this is to ameliorate the difficulties encountered in the areas during the rainy season and also save lives and properties. 

The Commissioner appealed to all residents to take ownership of public infrastructure provided by the government in their communities, ensure they protect the canals and drains from refuse dumping and do away with encroaching on canals and drainage right of way.

Wahab and his team also inspected the ongoing enforcement action for the re-establishment of drainage setbacks in the PeleWura/Ladylak Collector drain,  Kofo Abayomi and Aerodrome Collector drain all in Apapa.

The team also visited System 157, Orchard Road, Lekki where properties that fall within the approved metres setback of the channels were issued abatement notices before the commencement of enforcement action.

“We are cleaning up our infrastructure and making them more resilient and this will be done continuously all year round, manually and mechanically across the state”, he noted.

The team also visited Ilabere Drainage Channel, off McPherson Road, Ikoyi where he directed immediate cleaning of the channels and serving of abatement notices to contractors who were in the habit of illegally placing their construction materials on the road thereby disrupting the free flow of traffic.

He expressed satisfaction with the recent removal of shanties on the Coastal Road, Mayegun and Jakande Area of Lekki, reminding residents that no government is out to hurt its citizens, adding that what was done in Mayegun/Jakande is being done to override public interest. 

The team also visited Aunty Ayo Collector drain in Ikoyi where he expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cleaning of the drainage channels sounding a note of warning to residents who usually engage in unwholesome acts of indiscriminate refuse dumping to desist from such acts even as the rainy season is here.

He hinted that following the expiration of relocation notices issued to all squatters occupying illegal shanties around the Lagos Coastal Road in Mayegun, Lekki area of Lagos, enforcement will commence fully next week.

Wahab noted that the government is determined to find a realistic solution to the flooding issue across the State by embarking on all-year-round drainage cleaning measures to control flooding.

He added that it is necessary for residents to also clean the tertiary drains that run across residences regularly, stressing that the Ministry has been consistently de-silting and working on various linkages to the secondary and primary channels to enable them to discharge efficiently.

The efforts of the government in taking calculated precautionary measures to mitigate the effects of rains would best be appreciated by the discerning residents, considering Lagos’ peculiar topography. For a coastal metropolis such as Lagos, once it rains constantly for a minimum of eight hours, there is bound to be a flash flood caused by the increasing inability of effectively discharge into the lagoon, which is brought about by a rise in the ocean level.

This naturally leads to drainage obstruction and, until the water level goes down, the drainages would be unable to discharge. This is what happens in most global coastal cities, including those that have adopted the best of technological advancements to curtail flooding.

Experts are of the view 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 its unique location.

It has, thus, become imperative for residents of low-lying areas that are contiguous to the Ogun River to be prepared for the possibility of their homes being flooded. 

As always, the government is committed to a cleaner environment and quality public health through the implementation of community-based solid waste management, flood control, vegetal control and high standards of home and personal hygiene, sanitation, control of environment pollution (air, water and noise), beautification and advertisement control.

 Consequently, its approach to tackling flooding is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. It includes dredging, massive construction and expansion of drainage channels, desilting and excavation of silts to dumpsites, regular repair, clearing and cleaning of drainages, canals and collector drains across the state. 

Currently, the government is combining public enlightenment strategies to sensitize Lagosians on this development and has taken the time to proffer solutions so that the volume of rains being expected won’t have devastating effects on lives and property. 

Whenever it is observed that the intensity of the rains is much, people should vacate flood-prone areas. Equally, it is also important for the citizenry, especially children to stay indoors to reduce movement to the barest minimum.  If it could be avoided, it is better not to drive while it is raining heavily.  Similarly, residents should maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times to avoid being victims of waterborne diseases.

Since we now live in a hi-tech information age, it is also imperative that people listen to news reports and information on weather situations from various available credible mediums. This will aid in planning movements and avoiding flood-prone locations. 

Also, because of likely destructive thunder strikes that usually accompany windy rainfall, residents are strongly advised to always disconnect all electrical appliances whenever they want to sleep or go out. This will go a long way in checkmating rain induced electrical debacles. Similarly, children should be discouraged from touching electrical equipment when wet.

In as much as it is beyond human powers to stop rain, being a natural phenomenon, we should, at least, do things that are in our powers to lessen the negative consequences of rain. 

Residents are enjoined to call 767 in case of emergency as well as report all cases of drainage blockages, and dumping of waste into canals and other unauthorized places to the appropriate authority. It is only in doing this that they would be complementing the government’s efforts on the environment.

Ogunbiyi is Director (Features), Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja

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