Winning The War On Lagos Floods, An Expert’s Leeway

Winning The War On Lagos Floods, An Expert’s Leeway


Winning the War on Lagos floods, An Expert’s Leeway
Town planner turned politician, Hon.(TPL)Rasheed Makinde, has analyzed why flood ravages Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria. In a chat with our correspondent, he highlighted government’s role, the adverse effect of military interregnum and also proposed some escape routes ignored by the people, which is clearly taking its toll on Lagos residents.
The rising spate of flood ravaging the state and other parts of the country brings to question, what faults are traceable in the planning system of Lagos?
What happened in Lagos and some other parts of the country recently with respect to flooding is not a good thing but disaster and we pray we will not have such a nasty phenomenon again, it is a phenomenon because sometimes things happen when we have high tide waves and Lagos state is below the sea level, by nature water will always find its own level, so there is high possibility that we have a back flash of the lagoon or ocean water back unto the uplands, also naturally we have what we call the global warming, some of the polar region’s iceberg are being melted up and this add up to the body of water which move from Arctic ocean to Atlantic, thereby increasing the tidal waves aside from all the highlighted, our own side of the country falls within the coastal region and 40 years before now Lagos State was not as urban as it is, the Lekki, Victoria Island’s population, I can say is less than 50 percent of what we have today, though back then nature took its course, then the surface of that area is less paved and we have lots of trees that serve as barrier reducing the force of the water from coming to the upland and naturally the water gets into the soil, all this while the land absorbs the water but Lekki, Ikoyi of today is well paved.
What then is really structurally defective in the Master plan of Lagos?
Whenever we have rain, it is coming directly to the paved ground, all of which form the storm water and the storm water have to find a channel through which it can now be discharged into a larger body of water, but in this case Ikoyi of 40 years ago has no good drainage system but we have less population in that area, the water is going into the ground naturally, today the storm water is now so much that if you have  a slight downpour, you have stagnant water all over but now couple with the urbanization we are having here, you are having a lot of reclamation across Lagos State, some of which are done in shoddy manner, unprofessional and two the channelization of Ikoyi, Victoria Island is not all encompassing, also attention need be drawn to how the water is being channeled into the primary canal. Though there is significant improvement in our sanitation and waste management system yet we still have some recalcitrant people that still dispose their waste indiscriminately and when rain falls all these organic and inorganic materials will be washed away into the drainage channel, some of which block the free flow of storm water or sewage water into the major canal resulting to back flow of storm water that comes to the residential areas.
Aside from that, the Lekki Corridor is a natural wetland and as a result of urbanization too, we are just developing without precaution to planning principles. Ordinarily within the Lekki corridor there should be a kind of transverse survey that the level ought to have been taken in that area, where datum could have been established, that if you want to construct your building, you must observe a natural ground level and your DPC level, which would have created a natural flow of storm and sewage water into the lagoon, majorly the storm water.
By the time the road construction will come in, it must have form a natural slope into the canal and later into the lagoon but all these were not done and informs why anytime we have a serious rainfall, we are having flood around Lekki corridor, aside this we have some area referred to as catchment areas which serve as reservoir whenever it rains, all these areas should be protected and preserved, no physical development or any construction work should be allowed there, it must be preserved in that natural form.
The likes of Alapere down to Bariga area ought to have been left undeveloped, so some of this storm water would have been absorbed along that line as the water will be percolating the corridor but we have developed it, ditto some areas across the state, so all those one are really causing serious problem and lastly we need continuous carting away of the silted materials, debris along our, gutters, canals and drainage systems, if we are doing this frequently the water will find its way naturally.
It seems the government and agencies handling physical and urban development cum town planning are not doing enough to stall this ugly trend?
When we say governance, we are talking of the ruler and the ruled, the combination of the two makes up what we call governance, the government on their own part, I think they are doing their own bit to ensure policy guideline and also to ensure some of these policies are being translated into programme and project. This now resulted in the conceptualization of plans, the model city plans and master plans across the state, this plan is not meant for the Ministry of Physical Planning alone, but to all other MDA’s to follow soothe until when all other MDA’s key into the instrument of planning, the plans that we have that every Ministry observe and take their own portion into it. In  Epe’s Master plan, we had in it infrastructure Master plan, drainage master plan and until when Ministry of Environment take up their own portion, work on and develop it, it is then we can now have some kind of functional system, now to prevent flood in some of the sensitive areas we have in Lagos State? We are working yet don’t forget that sometimes the public can be powerful than the government, they can decide to take on the government agency. At times when you are doing your work lawfully, some people would just come up with aspersion about you, which might even cause you your job or at times leads to unexpected transfer, government workers are working thoroughly but the public needs more education some affluent individuals prefer wetlands simply to create class for themselves, because if you buy a parcel of land for N35m and the pilling of that area will cost 20-25million naira, definitely you will be looking for your class. That could develop this area, so that is why we have the encroachment into some of the sensitive areas, the catchment areas and some of the government reserved areas, so as we are talking about the government the public need be educated as well and the affluent need to respect the law of the land.
Why is the encroachment not checked right on time before degenerating to this stage?
Let me just shift a bit from that, the military incursion into our civil rule spoilt a lot of things. Before year 2000, the only instrument of planning we had was the 1980 Master plan prepared by the regime of Alhaji Lateef Jakande. In this plan we had metro lines and also marked out were activity areas with some areas being conserved or preserved probably for future or as no go areas but military arrangement encroached on these because back then they only act through military fiat, no law, every instruments of government were suspended. They only give order through decree and it stands that way. Through that the arrangement of past government were rubbished but not until 1999 when Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu came in that the issue of having a new plan started coming up but when the review of the 1980 Master plan was brought up we discovered that some of these areas that are supposed to be preserved have already been encroached upon, so what we are only doing now is to try to manage the existing situation we had today, but by and large right from Bola Ahmed Tinubu regime till date we have been trying to cope with this task. Don’t forget the rate at which people are even trooping in into the state is on the increase not minding the natural features of the state and the growing population through birth and migration into the state which can’t be curtailed. When you are planning initially for 20 people in the next twelve calendar months, you should be expecting times two of that, then where is the resources to cope with the extra?  Lagos state is a special state and should be given a special consideration, that is why we are asking for a kind of special fund to cope with the developmental challenges that arise by the population explosion we repeatedly have in Lagos state.
Illegality is not something that started today, it has really gotten to its peak during the military era but it will take time to really rectify those anomalies. Some people are used to such aberration, but I believe the government are trying, though the spate of developmental activities might be higher, than the level of monitoring the state government had given but I believe recently they have employed some staff that can cope with those workload and overtime, we will get over it.
What panacea do you propose to halt this issue?
We need lots of sensitization about how to manage our waste, where to really build and how to build, then government agency need to be up and doing. Continuous cleaning of drainages and construction of more. Experts and land surveyors need to come and establish datum. They have to take the leveling right from the coast to the upland, so that  we can create a natural slope and then water can easily flow down the canals into the lagoons. If we can do all these, I believe Lagos would be free from perennial flooding.
By Lanre Adesanya
Happenings Media