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Shocking Details of Lagos Flash Floods by Tokunbo Wahab, Commissioner for Environment & Water Resources

  • Arrest made, approvals not granted and green areas protected.

  • Encourages collective responsibility, as Lagosians to say something if they something.

Lagos, Nigeria – In a recent appearance on Arise News, the Lagos State Honorable Commissioner for Environmental & Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, addressed the severe flash floods that resulted from a 10-hour downpour in Lagos.

The Commissioner extended his apologies to Lagosians for the disruptions caused by the natural event, emphasizing the challenges posed by the city's unique geographical and climatic conditions.

Nature's Impact and Government Response

Commissioner Wahab explained that the tidal levels of the lagoon and sea were elevated during the rainstorm, preventing rainwater from draining effectively for about 1-2 hours. He highlighted that areas such as Agungi and Osapa London, being low-lying, faced significant drainage challenges. Despite these difficulties, Wahab assured that the flooding was not due to poor planning. He pointed out that Lagos has a comprehensive master plan, which includes proactive measures like the construction of the wall of Lagos in Eko Atlantic City, a project that has helped protect areas like Victoria Island and Ikoyi.

Addressing Illegal Structures

When questioned about potential demolitions, Wahab clarified that the Lagos State Government is not indiscriminately demolishing structures. Instead, the focus is on removing contraventions and illegal buildings erected in the right of way of canals, both primary and secondary collectors. This initiative is part of a broader effort to mitigate flooding by ensuring that drainage channels remain unobstructed.

Climate Change and Urban Growth

Wahab acknowledged that Lagos, as a rapidly growing megacity, faces ongoing challenges that require constant review and adaptation of its infrastructure to accommodate changes brought about by climate change. He noted that cities like Florida, London, and Dubai are experiencing similar issues, underscoring the global nature of the problem.

Collective Responsibility

The Commissioner also stressed the importance of collective responsibility among Lagosians. He urged residents to refrain from disposing of waste in drainage systems, citing an instance where offenders were caught on video and action was taken by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA). Wahab appealed to the public to support Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu's efforts to address the flooding issue, emphasizing that it requires a collective effort from all residents¹⁶.

Government Action on Green Vegetation Areas

The Lagos State Government has taken a firm stance against powerful individuals and entities attempting to build on green vegetation areas, which naturally serve as sponges to absorb excess rainwater and mitigate flooding. Commissioner Tokunbo Wahab emphasized that no one is above the law, and the government is committed to preserving these critical areas to avert future flood disasters. By enforcing strict regulations and removing illegal structures, the government aims to maintain the natural balance and ensure that these green zones continue to play their vital role in flood prevention.

Relocation from High-Risk Flood-Prone Areas

Commissioner Wahab also addressed the need for residents in high-risk flood-prone areas, such as Agelete and the Lagos end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, to relocate. He acknowledged the emotional attachment many Lagosians have to their homes but stressed that their safety and lives are of paramount importance. The government has established camps to accommodate those who need to move, ensuring they have a safe place to stay during periods of heavy rainfall and flooding. Wahab’s message was clear: while the government is doing its part, residents must also take proactive steps to protect themselves and their families.

Commissioner Wahab's appearance on Arise News provided valuable insights into the Lagos State Government's strategies for managing the recent flash floods and highlighted the importance of community cooperation in tackling environmental challenges. For more detailed information, viewers are encouraged to watch the full interview on Arise News.



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