•Pregnant woman, two others rescued, houses collapsed
•Gridlock as Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, other roads flooded
Flood, which accompanied the torrential rains yesterday wreaked havoc on many parts of Lagos and Ogun states.
At the Agege area of the Lagos metropolis, the flood swept away a four-year-old girl, whose name was given simply as Azizat.
The incident occurred at Fashola Street, Papa Ashafa at Orile-Agege, during the downpour which started about 2a.m. across the two states.
It was learnt that rainwater flooded the house of the victim’s parents. But while trying to move out of the house to a safer place, Azizat missed her step, fell inside the drainage and was swept away.
This came barely 24 hours after two kids, a boy and a girl, died when mudslide caused by rain, pulled down their house. The Wednesday incident occurred at 46, Gafari Balogun Street, Ogudu area of Lagos.
Also yesterday, a pregnant woman and two other women were rescued from a collapsed building at Ashade area of Agege.
Other areas of Lagos flooded yesterday included Egbeda, Surulere, Ketu, Iyana-Oworonshoki, Lekki, Ajah Expressway, Ikorodu, Ojota, Ikeja, Aboru, Iyana-Ipaja, and Command Area.
Also, Sango, Ota, and Agbara, among other areas were affected by the flood in Ogun State.
The South-West Public Relations Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said his agency and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) had put resources together for recovery operations.
Farinloye said people should call the attention of the emergency and security agencies in their area if they notice the body of the girl.
He said: “Azizat was living with her parents located at Number 38, Fashola Street, Papa Ashafa, Orile-Agege. Their house was overtaken by floodwater and in an attempt to relocate to higher ground with other residents, she missed her step into a drainage that was covered with flood and she was swept away.
“We are making efforts to recover her body as no stone would be left unturned in the recovery of Azizat’s body.”
Farinloye also said four buildings collapsed while three women, among them a pregnant woman, were rescued, at Ashade Quarters area.
According to him, the pregnant woman fainted but was revived immediately.
He said: “The occupants of the house have been advised to evacuate the building for the safety of their lives as the downpour has weakened the building. The occupants have expressed readiness for evacuation.
“On this note, the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, has appealed to parents and guardians to take special attention of their children and wards against playing in the rain or flowing water during the raining period.
“She also enjoined parents that in the process of relocation to higher ground, the children and women must be protected and safeguarded in emergency situations.
“Motorists are also implored to take extra caution while driving in the rain especially when there is flooding. They are advised to leave their vehicles and stay on upper ground and not under trees or temporary sheds. We also call on nursing mothers to protect their babies against exposure to cold that can lead to children’s pneumonia.”
The flood also swept some debris in its path, causing some drains and drainage channels to become blocked.
A resident of Lawanson, Surulere, Mr. Benedict Jude, said everywhere was absolutely flooded; causing serious gridlock in the metropolis.
He said: “My uncle’s house was also flooded, including the dogs’ shelter, which we have never witnessed before. But I want to implore the state government to work on the drainage in the state.”
Residents of the flood-prone parts of Surulere were preoccupied with the task of salvaging some of their submerged valuables, as some of the cars parked on the streets were affected, except those on elevated platforms.
Also, Mr. Adedeji Solarin, a trader, said it took him hours to navigate the flood on Awolowo Way in Ikeja to get to his shop at the Computer Village.
He said: “A normal journey of one hour is extending to three hours and above within Ikeja and its environs; it was hell getting to my office. I believe government is doing their best, but their best is not enough, they should find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding ravaging the state anytime it rains.
“There should be a channel where the flood water should be deposited, to be used to generate power for the state. From that, government will realise more internal generated revenue; instead of wasting it. I believe Lagos State can do it.”
The LASEMA Director-General (DG), Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said no life was lost in the buildings which collapsed at 3, Sadiku Street, Iyana-Ipaja.
But, according to him, eight rooms and 23 shops are affected.
In its reaction, the Lagos State government allayed fears over flooding experienced in some parts of the state.
The Public Affairs Officer of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Adekunle Adeshina, said what was experienced on the roads were flash floods which would disappear after sometimes.
He said the geographical location of Lagos State, as a coastal city, was responsible for occasional flooding.
Adeshina added that the ministry had earlier deployed its engineers to clear canals and drainages for easy flow of the floodwater.
Osanyintolu also gave account of collapsed buildings.
He said: “We recorded a partially collapsed bungalow at 12, Hassan Adejobi Street, Papa Ashafa, Orile-Agege, that injured a mother and daughter as a result of flooding about 6a.m.
“There was another incident at 3, Sadiku Street, Iyana-Ipaja. Upon arrival at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that a storey building consisting of eight rooms, 23 shops and one store had partially collapsed. Further investigation carried out by LRT revealed that the adjoining fence to the staircase collapsed. This also affected the toilet of the adjacent building.”
The flood also took over the Christ Church Anglican, Elere, Agege and several buildings within the axis.
Some of the residents of the area attributed the damage to the ongoing construction of the Agege Bridge and blockage of drainages, which, according to them, affected flow of rainwater into drainages within the area.
“The blocked drainage system behind the church premises is as a result of the ongoing construction. It is the main cause of the incessant flood menace. So, the attention of government should be called to this. The repeated flooding has caused irreparable damage to the church overtime,” a leader in the Christ Church Anglican, Elere-Agege, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated.
Meanwhile, for several hours, motorists, commuters and other road users groaned in gridlock as some major roads were flooded necessitating slow vehicular movement. It was learnt that some vehicles broke down on the roads.
As usual, high brow Lekki and parts of Victoria Island were not spared as rainwater took over some streets and roads in these neighbourhoods.
On the Mainland, roads, houses and shops at the popular Iyana-Oworo, Ifako, Ikeja Along and Obafemi Awolowo Way were flooded.
Communities in Agege and Ade-Alu along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway were affected as residents and traders struggled to prevent flood from destroying their valuables and goods.
At Ade-Alu, a resident, Mrs. Ogunusi, said that flooding issues in the area were not new, describing it as “perennial”.
Ogunusi said the flood was caused by the blockage of a major canal in the localities by house owners
She alleged that many houses in the locality were built on flood path, hence the flood.
Apart from being a low-lying location, she said that until the blockages were removed, there would always be flood in the neighbourhood.
On the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, half of the Long Bridge was filled with rainwater due to the blockage of artificial water drains of the facility by refuse and sand.
Many motorists, especially those with low cars, had to queue on one lane to avoid being trapped in the flood.
A motorist, who identified himself as Mr. Monday, said his car broke down after rainwater entered the exhaust.
He said: “For more than 30 minutes, I have been waiting for my mechanic to help me fix whatever the problem is.”
At Iyana-Oworo, a flood-prone area close to Lagos lagoon, the entire roads and many houses were overtaken by flood, while motorists were had to wade through the rainwater.
As at 2.30p.m., the rain, which started about 2a.m., refused to subside in some locations, compounding the problem of flood in Lagos and Ogun states’ boundaries.
This came almost three months after the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) warned about the 2020 rainfall prediction, advising Lagos State government and residents to prepare for likely consequences of 240-270 days’ rain to begin on March 19 and end on November 22.
Almost 27 states of the federation were asked to prepare for flood this year
According to the rainfall prediction by the NIMET for Lagos in 2020, Ikeja is expected to have about 1,526 millimetres, Badagry (1,759 millimetres), Lagos Island (1,714), Ikorodu (1,690) and Epe (1,730).