Lagos blames high-tide, blocked drains for flooding
Bennett Oghifo and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos, Ademola Babalola in Ibadan and Laleye Dipo in Minna
Eleven persons were at the weekend confirmed dead in a flood disaster caused by a five-hour downpour in Suleja and parts of Tafa Local Government Areas of Niger State even as many were injured and houses as well as other property were destroyed.
It was gathered that nine persons were killed by the flood at Checheniya area of Suleja, one at Kuspa area of the town, while one other died at Ayin -Nassarrawa in Tafa Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that though the five-hour rain submerged and destroyed houses and property worth several millions of naira in Kaltuma and Angwan Gwari in Suleja Local Government Area of the state, no live was lost in those areas.
It was further gathered that some of the victims of the flood disaster who lost their lives were members of same family and their bodies were yet to be recovered as at the time of filing this report but the search was still on to recover the bodies.
The Director General of the state Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga, who confirmed the incident to journalists last night, said members of the agencyâ€™s search and rescue operation were at the sites of the disasters with other volunteers.
He stated that so far, two of the bodies of those killed by the flood had been recovered but the search and rescue operation was still on to recover the remaining bodies while efforts are being made to attend to those injured and ameliorate the sufferings of those whose houses were submerged.
â€œAs I am talking to you now, the search and rescue operation is going on and now two bodies have been recovered. Initially, we thought it was eight people who lost their lives in Suleja but now it has increased to 11 and we have another one from Tafa.â€
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government yesterday blamed flooding in some parts of the state from storm water on high-tide of the lagoon, blocked drains from construction of buildings and solid waste dump.
The state Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, stated this after he inspected areas that were flooded after several days of steady rainfall.
Adejare said: â€œThe lagoon is swollen up, there is high tide, so it would lock on outflows, and the water would not recede or go into the lagoon as fast as it used to be. So, that is one of the main reasons why we are having flooding all over the place coupled with our own man-made problems such as people blocking the drainage channels; people building on drainage channels, those are what have also been causing all these problems.
â€œThat is a criminal thing to do, it is not good, and their actions can lead to loss of lives and definitely damage properties, so they should stop it because it would affect some people adversely.
â€œYou do not need to dump refuse in drainages; eventually we would come to pick them up and with our improved services through the reforms that we are carrying out, there would not be anything like that, we would be evacuating solid waste faster than we have done.â€
The government, he said, was doing all that was necessary to protect life and property of people in the affected areas. â€œWe are on top of the situation. The government is concerned by the recent occurrence of flooding in some parts of Victoria Island, Lekki, Oniru and its environs, and our emergency lines, 112 and 767, are open 24 hours a week for residents to report any emergency situation.â€
He said the government was concerned about the safety of residents, hence the continuous call on those living in flood-prone areas to relocate temporarily until the rain stops.
â€œLike we have been telling them, if the rain still persists, please donâ€™t go out of your homes, except you are living by the coast or by the low line. If you are one of those people, you have to move upland, move away from the coast until the rain recedes. But if you are living upland and itâ€™s raining persistently and itâ€™s not necessary or compulsory for you to go out, please stay indoors.
â€œIf you also have contact with flood water, wash your hands always, and whatever has been touched by the flood water should not be eaten, itâ€™s important,â€ he said.
A viable solid waste management system was being evolved through the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, which was one of the ongoing reforms in the environment sector.
The commissioner said: â€œThis is a transition period; most importantly, itâ€™s not that the reforms have taken so long, you need to plan very well so that you donâ€™t plan to fail. We are making sure that when we start, we donâ€™t hope to fail, we hope to give our people a world class service in solid waste management, thatâ€™s what we are planning for and we need to take our time to do that and give Lagosians good service. It would commence, it would succeed and it would give us a better way of managing our solid waste here.â€
He urged residents to continue to maintain a high level of cleanliness, especially in disposing their refuse, promising that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration would not relent in its efforts until it achieves a cleaner Lagos.
Adejare said: â€œI want to tell our people, no pain, no gain!. To embark on any kind of reform is always very tedious, as a government, the priority is to see these reforms through and to make our people live better. Our refuse should not be a disgrace to us, it should be a resource, and thatâ€™s what we intend to pursue.â€
Meanwhile, the fourth-day running, heavy downpour in Ibadan has wreaked havoc in some communities within the city as they are experiencing flooding with its attendant sacking of many families from their homes.
Areas like Odo-Ona Kekere, Arapaja, Akala Way and Gbekuba areas of the city in Oluyole, Ibadan South West, Ido Local Government Area respectively, are worst hit by the continuous rain which peaked last Sunday for close to seven hours.
In Odo-Ona Kekere, it was gathered that water flooded some houses on the river bank, which resulted in occupants moving out.
A resident of the area, Funmilayo Olode, said that a river over-flew its banks but did not submerge the bridge over it.
â€œI just left my house now and realised that some houses were flooded because of the rain. Just after Odo-ona Kekere on the way to Arapaja, there is a river that flows across the road. There is a bridge over it at a point. Although the water did not flow over the bridge, houses close to the river on both sides were affected. I saw residents standing outside their houses,â€ Olode said.
The South-West Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yakubu Suleyman, said he was yet to be informed by the state office of the agency.
He, however, added that flooding was expected in areas where people do not obey planning rules.
Suleyman said: â€œWhat is happening in Ibadan cannot be compared with the situation in Lagos. The Ibadan office has not notified me which means that the situation is not out of hand there.
â€œThe state government is doing its best but people do not obey planning rule.â€
Secretary of Oyo State Emergency Management Authority, Akin Makinde, confirmed the flooding in some areas, adding that there was no casualty.
â€œThere were cases of flooding in Akala area of Orita Challenge and some other areas. There are no casualty but we are still inspecting the areas.
â€œThe problem is that people built houses on water ways. The government is dredging the rivers but our people must help themselves,â€ he said.