• Monday, May 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

When it rains in Lagos

Lagos-Traffic

When it rains in Lagos,it does appeart hat hell has been let loose and so, it has become typical of Lagosians to panic as clouds get dark with accumulated rain water ready to pour. The panic or worry stems from the anticipated stress of flooding to be inflicted on the roads (as water covers the potholes compelling everyone to thread slowly and carefully), houses in neglected marshy terrains and forced immobility in some cases when traffic jams are built up once it rains. The rains are meant to empty into the various roadside culverts and gutters. But, these gutters are blocked with substances like polymer sachets and other disused and disposed objects. Floods easily overrun blocked gutters and culverts due to lack of regular maintenance.
Some parts of Lagos which cannot be described beyond shanties are neglected at the peril of alarmingly rising population in those areas. Just as everybody provides everything by selves, control of flooding has joined the list of self help projects like generators to have light, borehole to have water, private schools to have education (as public schools become models of empty estates) and vigilante groups for security of lives and property. Town planning deficiencies are obviously present in most of the towns and villages in Lagos. If not, why should the town planning authorities neglect or do nothing about the trend of constructing houses without drainage conduits? This is disturbing and is already an environmental problem in many new areas in the fast expanding city of Lagos. At federal and state levels, there are environmental protection agencies, ministries of work, ministries of the environment and other governmental institutions saddled with the responsibility of maintaining our environment, but unfortunately, not much is seen as their handwork especially when the seasonal downpour of rain occurs.
It is also worrisome to note the number of man hours wasted in traffic jams when rains fall.

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Company executives, traders transporting their goods to the markets, security agents’ vehicles on patrol or emergency trips, fire service vehicles on trips to fight fire outbreaks are all held captive by the monstrous floods that take over our landscapes once it rains in Lagos. One can easily see how an unresolved, collapse of, or damage to a public amenity can affect the workings of others. Government fixing the roads, clearing up the culverts/gutters and exercising strict legislations on town planning can save lots of Nigerians from many problems. The flood covering the potholes on our roads accelerates the degeneration of small potholes to risky gullies right on the surface of our roads (at times on the major expressways).
The deplorable state of amenities in this country easily gives out our government as being insensitive to the life-threatening plights of the citizens it claims to serve. The refuse generated in various places most times find their way into some of these gutters. While the state government should intensify efforts on refuse disposal management, the refuse disposal mentality of Nigerians generally must change. As long as the gutters are blocked or completely unavailable, the waters would find their way on our roads and rooms to cause havoc. The quantity of rains water in Nigeria is not enough to cause the flooding crises we have. It’s all a matter of lack of maintenance culture and the negative effects of poor town planning in Lagos.

The magnitude of infrastructural challenges facing Lagos, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, demands the special attention of the Federal Government. This is desirable and even imperative not only because of the huge financial implications of coping effectively with this challenge but also because Lagos as the key industrial, commercial and financial centre in the country should not be allowed to be the exclusive burden of Lagos State.
In the light of all these, we draw the attention of the Federal Government and the relevant federal agencies to some of the so-called federal roads which have been in disrepair in Lagos and are increasingly making life in the city a nightmare. Lagosians can really be spared the drudgery, exasperation and frustration they experience daily whenever the rains come.