Monday, August 06, 2007

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE YET NONE TO DRINK

FLOODING IN LAGOS

Me Knee Deep in Flood Water in my rather fashionable N2000 second hand Welly's which I bought on the roadside.



I was feeling like a photographer with this composition. I love the shot a lot

There’ve been a number of stories recently about flooding. Also a dam that was let open recently in Ogun State and that kinda brings to the forefront once again the issue poor drainage. I wrote this blog entry three weeks ago but with the crazy schedule I have been keeping. I hadn’t had time to post it. Please share your comments

So we’ve had enough of the True Love article and anniversary rah rah. It’s now back to business. The rainy season is in full swing, meaning unexpected showers and torrential rain falls that rival any, during a hurricane. It also means flash floods and other floating and swimming elements that I don’t need to mention just incase you are eating while reading this.
This past week the rains have been really heavy and the Lekki area has not been spared at all. Actually the Island is always one of the hard hit areas when it comes to flooding and the fact that the ocean is eroding into the area due to rising sea level and improper land reclamation doesn’t help the situation. One of the reporters at STV Viviane Irikefe went to an area in Osapa London where the flood water had covered a whole street and was knee deep. Ironically that street, Association Road is right where our home is being built. Luckily it’s accessible from the next street where the government has yet another abandoned or should I say incomplete road project. There are several all over Lekki and if at all they’re built, they’re filled with pot-holes for lack of maintenance or the use of CHEAP material, usually cement and gravel, a lot of beach sand and little or no tar. Dude!! Even I know that’s not going to stand a chance with the weight of vehicles, the run off from the rains that keep collecting due to poor drainage. Then another reporter Babs Daramola was able to get the attention of the Lagos State governor with his report about the flooded communities of Maiyegun and Ologolo. Those guys should practically give it up and raise their homes up with stilts. The interesting thing is that someone on the governor’s team has a great PR head on his shoulders. After seeing the exclusive report, the governor decided to tour the area and of course invited STV camera crew along. You know how it goes, make promises, plead for patience, the people go into a frenzy, hailing the governor, one or two invoking God and Jesus and declaring Fashola’s government is ‘Ijoba Akpako’, meaning ‘the government of the people. While that is confirmed by the number of people who came out to vote on April 14 and the result, you and I both know that little or nothing will be done about the flooding. If these were the days of the military regime, some big wigs, money machines or champion royal family would have been lobbying for the demolition of areas like that in the Island axis (if they haven’t already) so that the land can be resold for premium. Case in point, the Maroko demolition and land reclamation. The excuse then was flooding right? The people were relocated to the Jakande housing estate which is more or less now a slum. You should see how flooded the area is now. I have to drive by there several times a day and I think that’s why I am ticked about it. The folks there are used to it now that you’ll be impressed at the variety of Wellingtons/Rainboots you see them adorning as they wade through the puddle. These guys don’t need to look for homes with an ‘Ocean View’, they freaking live on ‘Ocean Drive’.
Seriously, I mean c’mon, the rainy season comes around year in year out and still we have the same problem talked about in the media over and over again. Remember the days of Newsline, when we saw this sort of thing and our mouths were agape. It’s not now that we’ve been talking about the Atlantic Ocean encroaching on Bar-Beach and Victoria Island, but it’s taken the entire time that I was out of the country for a visible solution to go from theory into practice. To make matters worse when it rains, theres a ripple… more like a crashing domino effect. Three drops of rain, the pot-hole on that bad road fills up causing it to because a sink hole because when they were building the road the used sand instead of tar. The hole gets deeper and wider because the land upon which the road is built is reclaimed with sand, but not tightly enough. So the small hole that should have been fixed in five hours becomes a huge gaping hole filled with water. Now it’s 2pm in the afternoon and rush hour traffic was only just building up. A journey that would have been only 2 hours with normal traffic literarily becomes a 6 hour ordeal because now, every car has to painstakingly maneuver around these water logged sinkholes and several pot-holes and traffic moves at a snails pace. God forbids a trailer or lorry loaded with livestock breaks down because its axle broke as it was trying to get over the pot hole. Here you are stuck in traffic, there’re ‘places to go, and people to do’. You pick up your phone to try to make a call, ‘Sorry, the number you are trying to call is not reachable at this time.’ You try again, ‘the number you are dialing is not on the glo-mobile network.’ You pick up your Celtel, MTN and Starcomms phone. Four different phones and phones lines because you are a boy-scout; You’ve be taught to ‘be prepared’ for moments like this but guess what? Those lines fail you because everybody is doing the same thing. The networks are either jammed or just don’t work as great as they should, considering all that money they collect. You get home only to discover there is no power because your neighborhood transformer is under flood water. Now those darned mosquitoes are gleeful about your days
Truthfully everyone is just waiting and praying for the dry season, even the farmers whose crops depend on the rain. I mean let’s get real, next year you’ll see video of these same areas with the people once again yelling, “Gov’ment should come and help us”. It’s so annoying because truthfully that’s really all they can ask for and say. It’s not by choice that they choose to live and remain in that condition. Rather it’s out of necessity. Even the rich and well off are helpless in this situation. I am hoping this time that the governor, Babatunde Fashola will actually make his word his bond. I’ll cut him some slack since he only just took the reins of office. BUT… in six months time, I won’t be so generous, after all the government of Lagos State is a continuum of the last 8 years of the previous administration. While Fash deserves the benefit of the doubt, his job should have started the day the election results were announced. I don’t envy him though, he’s certainly got his work cut out for him and it looks like he’s starting on a good note trying to mend fences with the Federal Government so that funds can be released to the state.
Anyways, I couldn’t resist the thrill of trying to find a ‘good flood’ so I took a team to try and find something for my Anderson Cooper wannabe news magazine show, HOTLENS. It starts on Monday at 9.30am on STV. The first show is a look at people living on the Breadline. It’s no 360 but we’re inching for that with every production. Well we went to find some high water and boy was I in for a wet day.
Follow THIS LINK TO SEE FLOOD PICTURES we shot in the Jakande Estate Area and along Agungi Road in Lekki. Please Share your flood/ rainy season experience and what you think is the solution the flooding problem in Lagos, besides the obvious which is better drainage.

6 comments:

eastcoast said...

I really have no comment to leave other than we will continue to pray that God provides us with dependable, scrupulous, incorruptible, responsible leaders and a more sophisticated, technologically advanced country. We can only hope that our leaders will recognize and embrace the real meaning of a democracy. After reading this article, I have a genuine appreciation for diaspora location. I am also reminiscing on my days back in Nigeria, when i had to deal with flooding, bad roads and a general lack of basic infrastructure.

Esquire said...

Adaure,

Much love, I like the picture with the gate flooded, how does that person get into their house?

Secondly, you are becoming like Frank Olize, going where no other reporter goes!! I hope you venture safely into some of these places...

By the way, if one were in flood waters such as this, how will you run if area boys accost you?

Viaduct said...

This article really hit home for me cause I had to get through a rain storm and a seriously backed up train system to get from brooklyn to Manhattan this morning.... I say this cause we can not blame everything on leadership. New york has the best public transportation system in the US, but when someone drops the ball, crap happens. A leader never stands alone, the follwers should be able to take initative sometimes. My aunt lives deep in lagos by the waterside and she has seriuous problems cause of land issuse( as far as I see it, people should not even live on that part of the island) Her area gets flooded with a few drops of rain, casue of no drainage system. To get one, home owners in the neighbourhood would have to contribute..... Till today nothing has been done. Now can we put the blame on leaders.

imnakoya said...

Continue to "pray for dependable, scrupulous, incorruptible, responsible leaders and a more sophisticated, technologically advanced country...?" Why? Aren’t the problem in the land caused by the Nigerian people themselves?

The solution to the perennial flooding in Lagos is still drainage… and this can’t be over emphasized. Drainage is not just digging shallow gutters along the road sides or in front of homes. There is a science to waste water and flood control, and it doesn’t come cheap. And it’s usually done first (in addition to road layout) - before any of the buildings are erected. In Nigeria, it is the other way round! We build first and then dig gutters around the structures.

Lekki and several areas on the island as it’s called are sand-filled, i,e. reclaimed from the lagoon. Any decent engineer knows that any land-filled area will need extensive and well-designed drainage systems – network of canals/channels, waste-water ponds or surge-pond, etc. In fact, this is the standard requirement in any civil engineering work – be it road construction or real-estate development.

Are there any water/drainage canals in Lekki? Are there areas designated for waste water pooling?

The Lekki peninsula is home to the big and mighty and the Lords of the land in Lagos, the captains of industries and top government bureaucrats live there in magnificent mansions. If these people would pay little attention to something so basic but critical as proper drainage, then we shouldn’t be surprised that Nigeria is broken, the people need to be socially responsible; God won’t do this for us!

t said...

Hewo, I'll read this in full later. You dey write o.

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