5 October 2012

Nigeria: Lagos Faces Own Flood

Photo: This Day
Satellite town flooded

The huge flood experienced in various part of Northern Nigeria in recent times may be hitting the coastal city of Lagos as rainfalls increases in Lagos.

Known as the Centre of Excellence in Nigeria, Lagos State is also known for its larger body of water that highlights the unusual landscape of the state surrounded by water. Seen as a major component of the water cycle, there is a continuous deposit of the fresh water on its lands and that provides suitable conditions for Lagos environments that brings a relief to its inhabitants.

Though, this positive side of rainfall, notwithstanding events in recent times, have shown that, like other natural blessings, rainfall could turn into a curse when it becomes too much and its related effects becomes unbearable.

All of these experiences are largely traceable to global warming-induced climate change which is posing major threats to lives, food security and businesses. Just recently in the northern States of Kwara, Adamawa, Benue and Kogi, as a result of the continuous down pour of rain, thousands of displaced persons are presently out of their original homes taking shelter in makeshift relief camps across the States.

In Lagos, residents of the Igando New Town say though, the rain has long since been prayed for, the timing is really not just right. The flooding of the area which they say started since seven years ago, got worse recently with no drainage channel in the area to help direct the water out of the streets when it rains.

A food vendor at the entrance of the estate described her experience these past days as traumatic as the flooding of the area worsened and has put her business under perpetual loss.

"This rain is not just good for my business. For instance, before I came out in the morning to start cooking, I realised all my firewood I set outside for my cooking in the morning were drenched in rain water. I had nowhere to cook so I had to do my cooking on a stove.

"At the end of the day I took most of the food I prepared back home with me because most of my customers who are usually okada riders were nowhere to be seen, as they all ran from the rain. Today again the case is the same thing". She Lamented.

Mr. Felix Ndubuisi, an okada rider narrated how he fell he actually fell into a dirty mud water on the road leading into the estate. "That was a very terrible experience. I had to stop work so I could take my passenger back to where she will clean up, because she was just visiting in the area. After that I went home to clean up myself". He said.

Residents of the Ojo cantonment working at Alaba extension along Badagry also faced serious problems. The situation was said to have resulted in serious traffic jam in the area, due to the bad state of the road.

"This rainfall contributed to my getting to the office late. I work at Alaba international market and I always get myself ready on time, but stepping out I discovered it was raining heavily". Ms. Njideka Okereke said.

He adds: "What actually saved me was the fact that it's a Thursday and Alaba international market usually opens by 10am, despite this I was still late to the office. It was the same on Wednesday. I wasn't the only one affected, most of my colleagues also reported very late to the office because everywhere became flooded. Not just that, the traffic was terrible I spent close to 2 hours on the road from Shibiri to Alaba."

A resident of Satellite Town, in his own account Mr. Linus Osuji lamented that his car actually broke down right in the middle of the road on his way to work; as a result of the flooded area he had to drive through, "Satellite town has lost its glory, and it is now a ghost of itself".

"Can you believe that my car was submerged in dirty water, and by the time I got to the express, it just packed up on the road, and I was on my way to the office; I had to call my mechanic to pick it up." He stated.

At the Igando market, sellers and buyers also lamented over the stress of selling and shopping in the rainfall. Mrs. Iyabo Akinboyewa a seller of rice complained that since Wednesday, she couldn't open shops due to the downpour.

"Since I came to the market I have been sad, look at my store, I can't even sell because I can't bring out my food stuffs in the rain. How will customers come to buy when they don't know if what you have is what they are looking to buy? These past days have been bad for my market. I am really not happy with the rainfall". She said.

A buyer Mrs. Perekiye Adeshugba drenched in the rain said, "I have been here since morning, and shopping has been very difficult. Traders are not displaying their goods so we buyers cannot buy foodstuffs.

I have to wait for every time the rain goes down for them to open up what they have so I can buy. It isn't funny at all". When asked why she had to wait to come to the market on a rainy day she said, "I have been working, but decided to take today out to come and buy foodstuffs, when I left the house it was sunny, little did I know the weather had other plans for me".

Statistics shows that Lagos State is up to 0.4 per cent below the sea level. Naturally, this adds to the causes of huge drainage problems that confront the state.

Last year, residents of Lagos suffered great losses due to heavy down pour. On July 10, 2011, it rained in an unusual fashion leaving in its trail death and sorrow.

Experts have once again predicted that there will be more heavy rainfalls this year.

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