The recent weeks have been ‘hellish’ for residents, motorists and commuters in Nigeria’s former capital city, which population is estimated at over 21 million residents.
Lagos ordinarily is a congested city with its infrastructure in short supply, unable to cater to the ever increasing needs of the populace: be it shelter, roads, schools, hospitals, water supply and what have you.
Since the rainy season set in, March, it has been tales of woes for millions of residents, especially those in flood-prone areas, including parts of Lekki, Victoria Island, Ajegunle enroute Ikorodu, Alimosho, Surulere, Ejigbo among other areas, as the rains have exposed the underbelly of Lagos and vulnerable state of its roads.
The flood situation has, however, worsened since the last one week, as the rains continue to pound daily, leaving major roads and inner streets, which were already in a state of disrepair, in even worse condition, with potholes expanding and sinking deeper.
Across the metropolis, commuters and motorists are complaining. They are seen trapped in traffic or wading through flooded roads and streets to reach their destinations.
The situation, findings show, has been exacerbated by the failure of the local councils and the state government, over the last four years, to clear drainages, most of which are filled with solid and plastic wastes, as there is no well-defined government policy on the disposal of plastic wastes in the state.
Indiscriminate waste disposal is turning around to hurt the residents and making life unbearable, as the drainages are clogged, unable to accommodate the volume of storm waters coming with the continuing downpour.
At Iyana Ejigbo, about 200 metres to the headquarters of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), in Alimosho area of the state, several vehicles were seen, Friday, trapped in the heavily flooded road, which a resident, Moses Ogundeji, attributed to collapse of the drainage system along that axis.
“We have lived with this since six years ago. But in 2015, the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode intervened. The road and gutters were rehabilitated. Unfortunately, the job was shoddy. It didn’t take a long time before the drainage system collapsed again.
Ever since 2017, we have had to wade through the flood any time it rains. We want to appeal to the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to fix the road and drainage system here, said Ogundeji, a tricycle operator who runs between Jakande Low-cost Housing Estate Gate and Ikotun.
On Adeola Hopewell, a popular street in highbrow residential cum commercial Victoria Island, residents and business owners are miffed. Every heavy rain means the street would be left flooded for hours, with vehicles stuck in the waters.
In the Lekki area, including VGG Estate, the residents are living in trepidation.
Olorogun Emadoye, president, Lekki Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), complained of the danger faced by the residents and stressed the need to tackle immobility, loss of lives and property caused by flooding in the area.
Emadoye wants Lagos and the federal government to collaborate and utilise the ecological funds to provide help for Lekki and its occupants.
“If you recall, three years ago, we had a situation. Before it gets to that stage again, we are appealing that the Federal Government should do something for Lagos out of the ecological funds because the challenge is really staring us in the face.”
In a telephone interview with Inside Lags, Abiodun Bamgboye, permanent secretary, Lagos State ministry of the environment, admitted there had been some lapses in the handling of issues relating to the environment and flooding in the state, which the new administration is currently addressing.
“There was a reform in the environment sector that took away a unit in the ministry of environment that was charged with managing and clearing drains across the state. Our men were scattered but we are bringing them back under the new administration. We’re forming environmental gang. As we speak, our engineers have gone out to assess the situation and within the next two to three weeks, we are going public on specific measures to address the situation,” said Bamgboye.