• Saturday, June 15, 2024
businessday logo


Cry havoc and “buga” dancing at the united nations (grime, ruin and remnants) part viii

Cry havoc and “buga” dancing at the united nations (grime, ruin and remnants) part  viii

“Lagos Island to Sink by 2050”

In 2021, the Director General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engr. Clement Nze, said, “There is a prediction that Lagos Island is one of the fastest sinking cities that might go down in about 2050. There are about 10 such cities and Lagos is one of them.

“There are so many activities taking place in the Atlantic, such as creating more megacities like Banana Island and Lekki. They are dredging or sand-filling these places.

You go into the Atlantic and begin to pump sand. As you are pumping sand, you are reclaiming part of the ocean to create land on which you begin to build. Through that dredging or sand filling of the ocean, reclaiming so much portion of the land, you are interfering with the natural ecosystem.

They may have done their environmental impact assessment study. If they are bringing any facility or structure into an environment, they are supposed to do a study that will give you an idea of how that environment is going to react by imposing something new on it.

You are pumping sand from the Atlantic to reclaim part of the Atlantic and then going ahead to put up structures or create new cities or communities, it is going to have an aftermath effect by interfering with the natural environment. The ocean is dynamic. As you pump, things are happening.

Can you imagine what would happen if the kind of rain that fell on July 16, 2021, happens again two days later? Instead of water from the upland flowing into the ocean, there will be a backwash from the ocean because it cannot swallow the water. After all, the place will now be below ocean level. It harms Lagos, particularly places like Banana Island, Lekki, etc.”

Nze, though didn’t attribute his predictions to any source, said that apart from flooding, dredging, and land reclamation by developers, the Lagos State government poses further threats to the state with the Atlantic City.

Tales of Woe

Speaking with THISDAY, the residents who now live in fear of being swallowed up by the water in their sleep, narrated how the water has swallowed their lands, and valuable properties, including houses, schools, businesses, health centres, and roads, amongst others.

They equally lamented that the water situation has not only made them homeless, but made them and their children disposable to some waterborne diseases, and made life in the community unbearable, especially feeding, as their source of livelihood has been carted away by the ocean.

Alhaji Yekini Ekun, a resident of the community said: “I spent my early to youthful years outside this town after which I came back to this town about 20 years ago.

Sadness is one thing we should not think about, but when I look at how I met this town upon arrival, and what it has become now, it saddens my heart thereby leading to tears.

Getting here then, fish vessels used to come here three to four times a week to dock, which led to the Ghanaians coming to trade but now things have changed drastically and they can’t come here again.

When I got here, there were diverse businesses all around including shops built with blocks and wood here in Okun Alfa. Also, back then, there were good roads tarred from here downwards to enhance our fish trading business, but the roads have all been swallowed by the water.

Help us appeal to the government in the name of God to look into this water overflow and assist us. God will help you all. As you’re coming, God will not leave your vicinity. Good health will be yours. Please in God’s name.”

Impact on Living Conditions

According to Sarah Oluyole who shared her experience, “This flood we are talking about will take you up to your leg. Both the flood water and the sea water will mix so we can’t leave our houses.

Even the Okada riders (motorcycles) cannot go into town to carry people; everyone has to walk to where they are going. From here to LCD, the Okada men charge between 500 to 800 naira. Before, it was N100.

I used to sell fish far away where the water has now swallowed, now we can no longer go fishing due to the current of the water, and we have to live daily by begging on the main road for help. I have three children, and my husband is late. He died long ago on the water while fishing, so I am the only one fending for the children.

Also, we can no longer cook with firewood, we now have to look for money to buy a stove and kerosene, which is also now very expensive. We can’t even afford to send our children to school, because the schools here have all packed up. Going to town, the schools there are very expensive, and we can’t afford that.

Also, we no longer have clean (colourless and saltless) water in our wells for cooking. We have to buy them from outside this place before we can eat. Government should come to our aid.”

For Mary Chukwudi, the water has not only displaced her and her family but has caused great harm to her and her children’s health.

According to her, whenever the ocean rages into the community, “the wave is so much that the water eats (sic) our foot. It eats our feet so much that we can’t wear slippers. It happened to me as well; you needed to see my foot.

Look at my foot, as you can see, the injury is still there, it has not healed. It will eat your foot so bad that you’ll be unable to walk. I cried because of the pain the injury had caused me. Whenever the water comes out like that, the whole street will be messed up and it’ll affect our food as well.

It also affects our children. They get colds and different illnesses. For instance, a particular sickness happens to most children here because of the cold. Look at their bodies; you will see different types of rashes. Pneumonia is also common here.

Also, in most of our homes, our home appliances are affected. For instance, buying a standing fan is not advisable because it will rust within a month because of the water.

The water damages a lot of things in the house. My refrigerator got burnt easily because of the water and even my television also develops issues and when you try to repair it, they’ll say it’s because of the water.

For cooking, we buy water which is very expensive here. One keg of water is sold for N200 naira, and you have to buy it. There are wells but the wells are not clean at all. The colour of the water in the well is brown, and it is filled with salt, so we can’t use it for anything.

You can’t even bathe with it. It’s better not to bathe with it because it affects the skin. You can also get skin rashes. Whenever I use it, my body itches. We don’t use it. You just have to buy water.

I have three children, and due to this, I use two 25lts kegs of water per day, and I even have to manage them. Because when I want to bathe, I cannot fill up a bucket to bathe. I have to manage the water; you keep managing it. So approximately, I and my children use 12 kegs of water every week. The government should please come to our aid.”

Yusuf Elegushi Atewolaraisthe is the Baale (Village Chief) of the Okun Alfa community. Providing more insight into the situation, he said, “The problem has been for a while now. When we were younger, and it happened, it only used to last for a short while then it goes.

However, since 2008/2009 it became permanent such that it is taking away our lands. All our coconuts and everything are gone. We used to have a lot of coconuts here previously but this is the situation in which we’ve found ourselves now.

We’ve complained to the government numerous times; we’ve written letters, we even held placards and did everything possible, including protest.

At some point, the state government came. They were the ones who made the two breakers for the waves. It was done about four years ago. If they hadn’t done it, the water issue would have been worse.”

Read also: Cry havoc and “buga” dancing at the united nations (grime, ruin and remnants) part viii

Global Report

Research by Climate Central, a science organisation based in New Jersey, United States of America and published in the journal, Nature Communications, shows that 300 million people currently live in areas that become flooded at least once a year, and that half of these places would be below the high tide line by mid-century.

The scientists developed a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings, a standard way of estimating the effects of sea-level rise over large areas, and found that the previous statistics were far too optimistic.

The research is coming on the heels of a landmark United Nations report that laid bare the severe risk to coastal cities and low-lying islands from climate change and the parlous state of the world’s oceans.

Globally, sea levels rose in the last century and various projections suggest substantial increases this century due to climate change. In Nigeria, there are no up-to-date sea level rise (SLR) assessments for the coast.

Much of the Nigerian coast is low-lying with the consequence that a one to three-meter rise in sea level, which may result from ecstatic or climate change, will have a catastrophic effect on human activities in this region.

In 2021, the federal government expressed fears that flooding and the reclamation of the Atlantic Ocean would have a negative impact not only on the Island but on the entire Lagos State. It predicted that the entire Lagos Island area of the state would go under the sea by 2050.”