Lagos Floods: High Tide Hampers Rainwater Recession, Says Wahab

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    The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, Thursday, noted that the tidal levels of the lagoon and the sea rose to such an extent that rainwater couldn’t discharge for one to two hours after the heavy rain stopped which caused the flooding across the city, particularly affecting Lagos Island.

    The commissioner noted that Lagos is doing its best to contain floods and urged residents in high flood-prone areas to evacuate.
    Speaking on Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’ he reiterated that Lagos State would continue to remove buildings obstructing the passage of water, as part of its commitment to the urban master plan.

    In a statement also yesterday signed by Director Public Affairs MOE&WR, Kunle Adeshina, the Lagos State Government apologised to residents for the discomfort experienced as a result of the intensive rainfalls that the state experienced on Wednesday.
    Wahab stated this during syndicated interview programmes across different television channels in Lagos, stressing that the state government had put in place resilient infrastructure which can withstand the effects of flash flooding.

    The Commissioner also sympathised with a resident of the state who reportedly lost a loved one as well as others who lost properties due to the torrential rainfall experienced on Wednesday.

    He said: “My first pitch is to apologise to Lagosians for the disruption caused by nature yesterday. We had a 10-hour non-stop rain and the tidal level was up. The tidal level for the Lagoon the sea was up to the extent that the rainwater was not able to discharge for about one or two hours into the Lagoon and sea. That is what happened.”

    Wahab emphasised that Lagos State has a comprehensive master plan for drainage systems, but recent developments in certain areas, such as Agungi, have outpaced the existing infrastructure.
    Addressing the specific challenges in areas like Osapa London and Agungi, Wahab detailed the existing drainage systems and the need for additional infrastructure.

    He said: “There are two collectors serving these areas. A primary channel discharges through Chevron Road to the lagoon, and a secondary collector is also in place. However, recent developments have outstripped these systems. We need to put in a secondary collector to help manage the drainage more effectively.”

    In response to a tweet accusing the government of targeting structures belonging to the Igbo under the guise of canal clearance, Wahab clarified that the demolition efforts are strictly aimed at removing illegal structures obstructing drainage paths.

    “For the tweets or the message on X, my position to them is, we are not demolishing, we are removing contraventions in areas that are prone to flooding and those that have built on the right of way or the canal primary or secondary collector,” he asserted.
    Wahab dismissed the notion that these actions were ethnically motivated. “For Ikoyi, VI, and Lekki 1, the water receded within one or two hours, post-rainfall because the drainage systems were working effectively.

    “We maintain these systems year-round,” he said. “In upland areas like Ikeja, Alimosho, and Agege, similar results were observed. The water moved away within one or two hours after the rain stopped.”

    On the broader issue of climate change, Wahab highlighted the global challenges posed by extreme weather patterns.
    According to him, “Global warming is real. It’s characterised by excess heat and excess downpour. Lagos, being a coastal and low-lying state, is particularly vulnerable.

    “Even with the best plans and infrastructure, nature can overwhelm us. Our efforts to remove contraventions are to ensure water has a natural path to discharge.

    “So, it’s not about not planning, it is about even with the best of plans and with the best and the most resilient infrastructure you can put in place when it is nature, all you can do is to mitigate and push back.

    “So, when you see us removing those contraventions like did at Mende, Lekki, Ikoyi, Banana Island, Park View and Alimosho to create infrastructur

    e to let water have its natural path to discharge.”
    Wahab also stressed the importance of public cooperation and environmental awareness. “How we relate to the environment is crucial. It’s not just about planning; it’s about adapting and mitigating; Lagos of the 60s and 70s is different from Lagos now. The city has grown, and so have our challenges.”

    In a related development, Wahab mentioned the arrest of individuals at the Trade Fair complex who were illegally charging pedestrians to use a bridge during the rain. “Lagos State is governed by laws, and we will enforce those laws,” he affirmed.
    Furthermore, he concluded: “Please Lagosians we are sorry for what happened yesterday. Nature took its course; we take ownership.  See something, say something,and be rest assured we are here to serve you.”

    Wahab advised Lagosians in the upland areas like Agege, Alimosho and Ikeja  to be calm saying government had built resilient infrastructure that will discharge storm water into the Creeks and Lagoons within a few hours after the rain subsides.
    He added that some axis like Ogombo, Mobil corridor of Victoria Island that hitherto experienced flash floods did not experience it yesterday as a result of improved drainage infrastructure and efforts of government.

    According to him, flash flood happens globally, what we can do as a government is to embrace and live with nature adding that “Anywhere in the world that experiences long hours of rainfall like we did yesterday is bound to experience flooding otherwise called ponding elsewhere.”

    He said the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) created to intervene in clearing black spot was on the ground from the early hours of 4 am but the water level was high and It took a while for the stormwater to discharge into the lagoon and ocean.

    Wahab said the ministry has strengthened its drainage enforcement activities in ensuring due diligence concerning all drainage channels and restoring the right of ways on all channels while it continued its intense all-year-round clearing and cleaning of major primary and secondary drainage channels.

    “I will like to reiterate that Lagos is a coastal state and there will always be flash floods for a few hours when it rains; We should know that the world has changed and everyone must ensure various measures to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming and other environmental issues confronting human existence,” he stated.

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