In recent times, Mother Nature manifested its full fury on Lagos State resulting in intermittent rainfall for days. Some persons were declared missing while others were displaced.
Some highways were rendered unmotorable with motorists trapped in the ensuing flood as they waded through to find their way in vain. Travel time became profoundly elongated as some of the highways became completely blocked leaving only a few for the army of motorists to use. Transporters took advantage of the logjam to hike transport fares astronomically.
A journey from Obalende to Oshodi was hiked to between N600 and N800 while a ride from Oshodi to Egbeda went up to N800 and N1000. New Telegraph is perturbed at the profound socio-economic dislocations on the populace thereby undermining the growth and expansion of the economy.
Some businesses were disrupted following the rainfall and accompanying flood disasters in and around Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre. We wish to highlight some of the factors responsible for the flood disasters and other rain-induced devastations such as the absence of a decent road network in some parts of Lagos State.
A classic example of a highway that is in a sorry state is the one in Igboelerin that connects with the Saint Augustine Catholic Church, Iba, Ojo, Lagos. Another is the dumping of refuse in unauthorised places. This has contributed in a large measure to the obstruction of the free-flow of water.
Disregarding the relevant rules and regulations in the construction industry constitute an unending blockade to the movement of water thereby leading to flooding.
Cutting of trees and failure to plant new ones, excavation of sand, dumping of refuse in the canals, construction of sub-standard canals as well as the failure of the relevant agencies to undertake proper environmental impact assessments of places of human habitation before construction are among the triggers of flooding.
New Telegraph enjoins the relevant agencies to ensure that such assessments are adequately undertaken before the commencement of estate development. It is imperative for such agencies to ensure that they employ competent persons as members of staff that would help them actualise their mandate.
On no account, should individuals or companies be allowed to erect houses in neighbourhoods that have not been subjected to pre-construction environmental impact assessments by experts.
The relevant agencies should also show diligence in the monitoring of all construction sites to ensure that property owners and developers comply with the existing construction laws.
Since there are highways that are unmotorable in Lagos State, we push for a heightened level of construction across the state. But maximum creativity should be deployed in the execution of road contracts. The practice of constructing all the roads simultaneously would definitely undermine human and vehicular movement as well as economic activities.
In order to avoid such unpleasant experience, the construction companies should deem it fit to carry out the road projects during the wee hours when the highways are likely to experience a reduction in human and vehicular traffic.
The construction companies should, on no account, capitalise on the fact that they are made to work limited hours during the wee hours and be less-diligent in the timely completion of the contracts awarded them. Given the limited land availability in Lagos State, it would amount to a further stifling of the state to have all the highways on the already choked surface.
Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre is not the only place in the world with land insufficiency. The globe is replete with places of human habitation with severe space-constraints. And despite their land disadvantages, such places are being ingeniously managed with intimidating ingenuity.
Mention must be made of Vatican City, Malta, Maldives, Saint Kitts, Nevis and Marshal Islands. Tuvalu, Nauru, Monaco, Lichtenstein and San Marino are some others also in the same classification. The planting of trees should be intensified in Lagos State.
The Ministry of Environment should ensure that a tree or more is planted in every compound with regard to safety considerations. Property and estate developers should be made to always leave some portions of their compounds unplastered. This is to aid the movement and penetration of water into the soil. Soil excavation and land reclamation in the state should be discouraged so as to enhance the capacity of the earth to fight back at flood disasters.
Should the recommended measures be implemented to the hilt, Lagos State and her residents would cease to go through nightmares during rainfall and accompanying flood disasters.