…we’re prepared for rains, govt tells Lagosians
Property and other valuables believed to worth millions of naira were destroyed yesterday as rainstorm wreaked havoc on communities in Lagos and Ogun states. Several people were injured during the downpour in both states.
The destruction led to a heavy vehicular traffic across the Lagos metropolis as motorists spent hours on the road. Trees were uprooted and landed on the roads as well as on moving vehicles. Also, roofs of many houses were removed by the windstorm while some buildings collapsed partially. Telecommunications masts were damaged and electrical cables were cut off. There were also multiple accidents resulting from driving with no clear vision and poor visibility due to the heavy downpour and flood on the road. Other vehicles broke down on the road while some canals and rivers overflowed, resulting to heavy flood.
It was difficult for some vehicles to wade through the flood. At the popular Kingsway, Ikoyi by NNPC Filling Station, a giant tree was uprooted and landed on moving cars. Trees were also uprooted at the state Secretariat, Alausa and damaged some property. It was the same story at New Oko-Oba, Abule-Egba as building of four rooms built on the fence of House 13, Erinjiyan Drive off Alhaja Mulika Street partially collapsed due to heavy rain. Flood took over the stretch of Ogudu to Berger Bus Stop on the Lagos-Expressway.
The traffic caused by the flood extended into inner roads and streets in Ikeja and its environs. Major roads in Ikeja, Maryland, Ketu, Lagos Ibadan expressway experienced gridlock and some were completely blocked as a result of collapse of communication masts and electric poles.
There was gridlock at Maryland because of flood leaving many commuters stranded at nearby bus stops. The situation was similar on the Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way, Ikeja, as motorists groaned owing to the long hours they spent in traffic.
The 7up Oregun Road was blocked completely owing to the collapse of a communication mast and an electric pole, which made the road impassable. Some commuters decried the poor emergency response to situations like this, adding that quick emergency response would have salvaged the situation. One of the commuters, Mr. Ademola Ogunmokun, said the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) might have been overwhelmed by the situation.
He said: “I think the LASEMA officials are up to the task only that the rains would have been experienced in all parts of Lagos. “To prevent this, we need to have the men of the agency moved to the areas suspected to be prone to such emergency cases.
“We need more personnel for situations like this, or maybe people should volunteer more for emergency situations because that is what is obtainable in advanced countries.” A resident of one of the blocked streets on Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Mrs. Titilayo Nelson, said it was taking too long for the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) to remove the damaged electric pole. She said: “There is a poor emergency response in this part of the world, when the rain stopped about 11a.m., we put a call through to the IKEDC, to remove the collapsed pole. “Up till now about 2p.m., they are yet to respond as you can see.
They need not wait till we start experiencing casualty before they move in.” But speaking on the incident, the General Manager, LASEMA, Mr. Tiamiyu Adesina, said it was very hectic for the rescue responders. Adesina said his men were moving from one place to the other, attending to disasters caused by the storm. He said: “Some parts of the metropolis were badly affected; some canals were overflowing their banks. Some power and telecommunications infrastructure were damaged.
“It was a busy day for our teams as they were busy today (yesterday) as they moved from one area to the other. They moved from one place to the other.” Adesina debunked cases of building collapse, saying some buildings only collapsed partially or had their roofs removed.
He added: “We can’t call what happened a building collapse really because some of them are shanties and some had their roofs blown off and that do not mean the building collapsed as we experienced in the past where we moved heavy-duty equipment to.” Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has assured residents that it had put in place necessary measures to address challenges posed by heavy rainfall.
Government, in a joint statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, and his counterpart in the Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye, urged Lagosians to remain calm as the unpredictable pattern of rainfall currently being experienced was a natural outcome of climate change. Government added that it was not unusual to occasionally experience flashfloods, especially in a coastal state like Lagos, as well as during rain of high intensity, as it occurred yesterday, but assured Lagosians that in a matter of time, they will all disappear and be contained by the drainages.
The statement also assured Lagosians that relevant government agencies like the Drainage Services Department, LASEMA, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) had been put on red alert to adequately respond to any unforeseen occurrence during rains of high intensity as well as evacuate fallen trees, electricity poles and confront other emergencies during the rains. “Similarly, Lagos State Public Works Corporation is already on ground to clean the drainage channels, drainage setbacks and other road debris,” it added.
Government, however, appealed to Lagosians to desist from the act of indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drains as well as erecting structures on drainages and their alignments as these acts were capable of precipitating flooding,” the statement added. Government also advised Lagosians and motorists to be safety conscious during this period, urging them to take some safety measures like remaining indoors during the rains except when it was absolutely necessary, and avoid overspeeding, when driving. It also advised drivers to ensure their vehicles are in good condition and avoid driving through flooded areas that their depths might be difficult to ascertain.
While advising Lagosians resident along flood plains and low-lands to be alert and safety conscious, government promised that it would continue to intensify efforts at containing the flood, stressing that it would continue to painstakingly maintain all primary and secondary channels during and after the rainy season. Meanwhile, the storm also wreaked havoc on Kajola community in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The 45-minute rain, which began at 10a.m., removed the roofs of many houses and shops, rendering many residents homeless. Some of the residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the rainstorm was a tragedy.
They lamented that the community roads, which lacked drains and were already in a bad state, were made virtually impassable. The residents, who appealed to the state government to come to their aid, said all the projects carried out in the community were through the efforts of the community’s landlords’ association. A resident, Mr. Akeem Rasheed, said he was shocked when the rainstorm began, forcing many to flee into their houses and shops for safety. Another resident, Mrs. Omolayo Bamgbose, said fear had gripped her during the rainstorm which brought down part of the house behind hers. She said: “I have never seen this kind of rainstorm before that has caused so much panic and fear.
I am really touched by the predicament of residents who are affected.” A community chieftain, Mr. Kehinde Shogunle, also urged government to assist residents affected by the rainstorm. He said: “I think this is a natural disaster that nobody prayed for, government should please come to the aid of residents who no longer have houses.” Another resident, Mr. Olawale Saliu, said residents of the community should pray against a repeat of such rainstorm.
Adekunle Adekoya, another community leader, expressed regrets at the damage caused by the rainstorm, adding that that the community had always lacked government presence. He said: “Most of the amenities we have here such as roads, electricity and others are efforts of the landlords’ association as government has neglected us here.” On his part, the Community Development Council Chairman, Mr. Adio Mosaku, said he was shocked when the rainstorm began. He said: “Many residents, including me, have been rendered homeless; the roof of my house was removed.”
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