1 February 2017

Nigeria: First Heavy Rains Cause Flooding, Gridlock in Lagos

Photo: The Guardian

The first heavy rainfall in the metropolis of Lagos, which began on Monday, continued yesterday leaving in its wake flooding and traffic jam in some parts of the city.

The rain, which started in the early hours of Monday, left knee-deep floods in some parts of Adeniji area in Lagos Island as well as Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Eti Osa Local Council. Yesterday, many parts of Lagos mainland experienced flash flooding after the downpour, which began around 11a.m.

Obafemi Awolowo Way in Ikeja was for nearly an hour after the rainfall still flooded, as the rainwater found little space in the blocked drains to seep through.

Some residents of Idumagbo Avenue on Lagos Island said the flood was caused by the blockage of the major canal in the neighbourhood and its overflow.

Yesterday's midday rain locked down Akute community in Ifo Local Council of Ogun State. The rain, which fell intermittently for about 30 minutes, blocked almost every available route in the area as commuters had to take off their shoes to wade through the flood, while many motorcycle and tricycle operators shunned the area.

Some of the residents at Idumagbo Avenue on Lagos Island told newsmen that the flooding was caused by the blockage of the major canal in the neighbourhood and its overflow. A resident, Mr. Yinka Shittu, said the road works in the area also contributed to the flooding. "You can see that there is ongoing reconstruction work on this road which has not been completed.

"Also, construction works where the drainage canal meets the road is yet to be completed. Traders and some of us living in this area have tried to open up the drainage systems but the water has been stagnant," he said.

A watch repairer, Alhaji Malik Yaro, said some residents dumped refuse in the drains. "I am, therefore, not surprised that the floodwater here today was knee deep. People dump refuse of all sorts -- empty containers, takeaway plates and papers -- in the drainage system.

"I am assuring you that if the situation continues this way, nobody will like to pass through this place whenever it rains heavily like this again and the floodwater may enter people's homes and shops," he said.

The rain was, however, a relief to some residents. According to Mrs. Oyindamola Adedapo, the rain brought relief from the heat.

"Heat and mosquitoes have been a regular challenge to me every night because it has hindered me from sleeping well. I have been longing for rain since the beginning of the year and I thank God it rained. Am sure I will now be able to sleep better every night."

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, said the state government would not relent in its efforts to stem flooding in the metropolis.

He urged the public to change their disposal habits and refrain from turning canals and drains into refuse dumpsites. Such behavioural change, the commissioner said, was necessary because sudden rain, like this week's, could cause flooding.

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