I want to use this medium to draw the attention of the Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola(SAN) and the Commissioner for Environment Mr. Tunji Bello to come to the aid of suffering lagosians over incessant flood due to climate change. The regular heavy downpour being experienced in the state has called for great concern. Presently, Lagosians are living in palpable fears of flood in the state.
Most of these so-called pedestrian and mini-bridges being constructed over 30 years ago are gradually fading out which the Master plan used was a result of the less population of the state then. The Master plan is no longer relevant as a result of the present population of Lagos State which is estimated to 18 million people.Though Lagos State Government under the Lagos State Ministry of Environment has cautioned Lagosians over heavy downpour due to climate change and environmental degradation in the past few months.The worst is that property worth millions of naira has been destroyed by incessant flood in the State. The opposition party in the State is now seeing the flood as a means to run down the government of the ACN.
Even dredging of canals in the state do not prevent the flood but the problem lies on some Lagos houses being built on the canals which prevents flowing of water anytime there is heavy downpour. Lagosians are seriously battling with accommodation problem which the high cost of house rents has left many Lagosians no option than to build their houses in shanties. Even the traffic gridlock in the state is at a pitiable state due to flood.Lagos State is a coastal state surrounded with sea but the flood can be prevented if all measures are put in place.
Come to think of Ajegunle that is most populated with different tribes, the people over there are living in the mercy of God. The unpredicted rainfall has rendered many Ajegunle residents homeless while property worth millions of naira destroyed by torrential rainfall and stormy weather.Some of the affected flood areas are Opaleye, Okoya, Otor-Wharf, Okorogbo, Osobengson, Babani, Ekene, Aiyenero, Agugu, Amukoko, Tolu, Ogbowankwo and just mention but a few.The major problem of Ajegunle flood is that some houses are constructed on the canals and gutters due to accommodation problem in Nigeria and the outgrown population of Lagos State.The fact remains that house owners in Lagos Sate refused to abide on the tenancy laws of the state which prevents house owners not to collect more than one year rent but the reverse is the case . Nobody is monitoring the law at present while landlords are taken advantage of tenants to collect two years rent without hesitation In fact one- room apartment or self-contained goes for one hundred fifty thousand to three hundred thousand naira in Ajegunle to the extent that house owners now greedily collect both agency and agreement fees without estate agents while some Ajegunle residents prefer to erect wooden houses on the canals.Poor drainage system is also causing flood in the State.
Most of the Lagos houses do not have toilets and bathrooms which canals are the only alternative to such unfortunate house owners who are desperate for money without caring for their tenants. Even the 57 local government chairmen are handicapped to confront the incessant flood in their local government areas.In Ejigbo, Mushin, Ebegda, Satellite Town, Old Ojo road and other areas in the state needed to revisit their Master plans to construct new bridges that can help to prevent flood in the State. Some of these pedestrian and mini-bridges are causing havoc to Lagosians which reptiles, mosquitoes and other dangerous insects also breeding various diseases to the people. The flood has affected some public and private businesses including schools in the state. The fear of flood is the beginning of many people relocating from Lagos together with their businesses which could be adversely effect to the economic activities in the State.
Again , organizing seminars on climate change cannot prevent flood but ability of the Lagos State Government to caution Lagos house owners on the imminent danger of building houses on canals.Despite some houses were destroyed during the first dredging of Lagos canals some Lagosians still operating their businesses on it.People now use canoes to ferry themselves to their respective homes.The increase of Malaria parasite among Lagosians could be traced to flood in the State.
Finally, Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the Commissioner for Environment Mr. Tunji Bello and Environmental stakeholders should review on the Lagos State Master Plan in order to fight against incessant flood in the State.
BY GODDAY ODIDI. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST
20 ORO STRRET AJEGUNLE APAPA LAGOS.