Tackling Flooding in Lagos


Peter Uzoho
In recent times, flooding has become a major cause for concern to Lagos residents. At every downpour, large number of the state’s over 20 million population are thrown into horrible situations. They either have their houses and business outlets submerged by water or, in extreme cases, people lose their life to drowning. The casualty index is in indeed alarming.

In 2018, over 30 persons were reported to have lost their lives due to flooding which occurred during heavy rains.

Among them was a female chartered accountant living at Gowon Estate, Egbeda, in Alimosho, who was declared missing but was later found dead in a manhole filled with water.
Experts have attributed the rising flood menace in Lagos to the blockage of drainage systems by refuse indiscriminately dropped in the gullies.

Some also say the situation is however not helped by the insufficient number of canals in the state that will help in pushing the water into the ocean.
There have been calls for the Lagos State government and corporate organisations to intervene to save the state from such calamity.

However, in responding to such calls, Mikano International Limited embarked on a research to ascertain the true cause of the flood and came up with a proposal which it believed would help solve the problem in a long term. According to the research report, water level rose up in many locations in the state.

The report said: ”In the past few weeks, we observed a serious raise up in the water level in the Lagos Lagoon, in many locations the water level has raised up by more than one meter.

“We inspected for the past days several spots on the Lagos Lagoon, some spots raised up by 60- 70 cm (in Victoria Island, Lekki and Ikoyi) and some others raised up to 1.5m (in Agaga), Eko Atlantic
‘This matter is putting all lands around the lagoon at risk of flood which can seriously affect the communities especially in the areas where the level of ground is either below or at the sea water level.

”Geographical study of the areas has been done where the Lagos Lagoon is passing, and it was discovered that other canals can be opened to help the Lagoon flowing into the sea and therefore reduce as much as possible its water level.”

To solve the problem, the company proposed building two canal, one in Ojo and another one near the Snake Island
”Proposed Canal in Ojo Area: this proposed spot may be suitable to open a canal of 180m width by 120m length to the ocean. Approximate excavation would be around 130,000 m3 and concrete retaining walls can be built on the boundaries of the canal to create a safe structure.

”Proposed Canal near the end of Snake Island. This proposed spot may be suitable to open a canal of 165m width by 300 m length to the ocean. Approximate excavation would be around 300,000 m3 and concrete retaining walls can be built on the boundaries of the canal to create a safe structure,” the report added.

However, throwing more light on the flood situation in Lagos and the need for action, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Mikano, Mr. Mofid Karameh, said: ”The water level now is above two metres, next year, it would be four metres and by that time, we cannot do anything about it.

”Look at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, you will see that almost all the houses beside the highway are already submerged and people are dying in the flood.

“Last year, 50 people died, the year before 30 people died. This year, 30 people have died so far. You know, most of the victims don’t know how to swim.

They built their houses along the Lagos Ibadan Expressway.
“When the water came, it rose to about three metres above the sea level. About 50,000 to 60,000 residents there are now without homes.

“It is unfortunate that we have a country, and the country is now sinking. When you wake up and you wake up when the water level is above all Lagos State. Then it would be too late”.
According to Karameh, channeling the water into the ocean would cost government next to nothing. Just two bulldozers can do it in two days, maybe N400 million to N500 million to drain the swamp and put concrete slabs by the sides and the water level will stop going up. And the flooding will cease, Lagos will get relief.”