19 August 2012

Nigeria: Eid-El-Fitr Tragedy - 16 Swept Away in Lagos Ocean Surge

It was tragic Eid-el-Fitr, yesterday, as high waves accompanied by ocean surge swept away 16 persons in Lagos. One victim was reported dead. The police confirmed the body was recovered.

The victims, Sunday Vanguard learnt, last night, include 11 traders in a boat, four picknickers and a diver.

Scene of disaster was Kuramo Beach on Victoria Island.

The disaster occurred as Lagos State government ordered "immediate evacuation of the state's waterfront."

Kuramo Beach was listed among the waterfront to be evacuated "to make way for movement of sand into the area."

A state government statement on the evacuation was silent on those allegedly swept away.

The take-off point and destination of the traders in the ill-fated boat could not be ascertained at press time.

A local diver on a fishing boat who attempted to rescue the traders in the boat reportedly got drowned.

The four fun seekers at Kuramo Beach were said to have been swept off with their cabins.

Some fishermen who were paddling their canoe towards the upper side of the beach were, according to sources, swept away.

Reports said yesterday's tragic was not the first of its kind as residents said the surge occurs once every year.

Prominent hotels and houses in Victoria Island, according to eye witnesses, were flooded. Confirming the story, Lagos State Police Spokesmen, Ngozi Braide, said 17 policemen were drafted to the scene.

According to her, the tragedy, which started at about 7a.m. had the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Victoria Island, Mr Adegoke Fayoade, sending policemen to cordon off the area so that the surge did not consume more people.

Braide confirmed that one dead body was recovered around 6p.m.

Senior Assistant to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Media and Publicity, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said the state government was on top of the situation.

In a statement, Bello said following seven days of high waves accompanied by a strong ocean surge which hit the country's coastline with Lagos being among the worst hit due to its location, Lagos State Government ordered the immediate evacuation of the state's waterfront.

He quoted the state Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Prince Segun Oniru, as saying the process started with the immediate evacuation of the Kuramo Beach to make way for movement of sand into the area.

The action, the statement explained, had to be taken immediately to avert the disaster of the Atlantic joining the Kuramo waters and subsequently the lagoon.

The statement said the state was getting the extreme of weather condition due to the location of Lagos State, noting that coastal waterfront areas badly affected from which people would be expected to move include Badagry and Ojo waterfront areas, Bar Beach, Kuramo Beach, Goshen Estate, Maiyegun and Alpha Beach.

It added that the state emergency services had been mobilized to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. The statement urged everyone to remain calm.

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