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RAINS EXPOSE UNDERBELLY OF LAGOS

By NBF News
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If Lagos State's darling governor, Babatunde Fashola, is not to leave the state, unappreciated, at the end of his tenure in spite of all his efforts on roads construction, he should, from this moment, begin to pay closer attention to the problem of flooding. The rains that fell last Saturday in the metropolis rudely exposed the underbelly of the mega city that his government is trying to build.

One fact that many people came away with following the downpour is that flooding is one of the major threats to the city. The floods left many wondering how critical sections of a mega city could be so summarily sacked and disgraced by a natural phenomenon that occurs every year.

That day, attempts by many Lagosians to link Jibowu through Ishaga/Mabo area of Surulere nearly turned out a misadventure as they ran into a street turned into a river, right in the heart of the city! Residents of the street were virtually trapped in their own homes as their vehicles bobbed about, a grave danger to drivers who suddenly found themselves trying to navigate a river instead of a road, while many vehicles broke down.But for the penchant of Lagos floods to recede shortly after rainfall, the state government would have had to be called in to rescue the hapless residents.

On some portions of Herbert Macaulay Way, especially the stretch between University of Lagos Road and the U-turn to Customs area, the flood was just as bad. Some portions of the Mile 2 - Oshodi Expressway are other bad spots where floods occasion terrible traffic gridlock.

The situation leaves many wondering if Lagos is, indeed, a mega city in the making as we are daily told.There is no doubt that Lagos is a large and complex city full of challenges. But, the way flood sacks many parts of the town anytime there is heavy rainfall calls for greater action from the government.

In past years, the city witnessed serious commitment to clearing of drainages and canals prior to the rains. But, with the general elections this year, the clearing of the drainages appears to have been more on the pages of newspapers than in reality.

Incidentally, this is one year that Nigerians have been warned to expect more rains than usual. The Nigerian Meteorological Agency has warned of increased rainfall, from between 300 to 1100mm in the North to between 1200 and 2700 mm in the South.

This is expected to lead to more floods with grave impact on public safety, agriculture, and transportation. To ensure safety, the Lagos State government has advised residents of some areas such as Owode-Onirin, Agiliti, Ikosi -Ketu and Isheri North Scheme to leave their homes for higher grounds during the period between June and January, next year.

This suggestion has not gone well with many residents of these areas, some of whom had to be evacuated to government camps during the heavy flooding of last year.

The challenge before Governor Fashola now is to conduct a study of the more severely flood-prone areas with a view to coming up with ways to re-channel the floods.

Asking people to leave their homes for seven months of the year as the state's environmental agency has done is not a practical way of tackling the problem. There should be a more sustainable way of addressing the issue. This will need the knowledge of experts in flood control management.

Luckily, the state government recently through the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said that governance in the state for the next four years will be based on the opinion of Lagos residents. This is a good development.

However, the recent report that the state government has accused car wash operators of being the major cause of flooding in the state is actually begging the question.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Infrastructure, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Wasiu Olokunola, who gave the government position, said the authorities had commenced a clampdown on them.

He said available research on causes of flooding in the state indicated that car wash operators that discharge waste water on the road not only damage them, but also cause flooding.

It is good to ensure that car wash operators and others are restricted from damaging the roads, but the causes of heavy floods are much more serious than that.

As the Permanent Secretary advised, however, Lagosians need to pay more attention to clearing of drainages in their vicinities.

They also need to be proactive in getting the relevant government agencies to clear canals. With the problem of flooding getting worse year after year, it will be good to build more canals and drainages in affected parts of the state. Other parts of the country which experience flooding, especially Ibadan in Oyo State, the Eastern part of the country where the problem is compounded by erosion, and other prone areas in the North should take the warning from the meteorological agency seriously. Let measures be devised now to combat flooding in all parts of the country to ensure public safety during the rains.

Mail Box
I commend you for your courage. As a matter of fact, all the legislators, wether serving or not, should be picked by EFCC and by election conducted to replace them.

Kelvin K, 08068500927
Both the new Speaker and his deputy should be arrested along with Bankole, if not, we are heading from frying pan to fire

Glory Mfon, 08095049697
Thanks for that thought provoking piece on Bankole. I feel the media, civil society organizations, labour, students unions and all well meaning Nigerians must team up to protest against such jumbo pay to legislators.

Musa Z.P, 08052587654
I read your worry over the N10 billion loan by the House of Representatives members. My reaction: This country shall one day be free - by collapsing on the heads of its so called leaders. Watch my words. Thanks and welcome back.

Nze Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
08032721177
From all these mind-boggling disclosures on Bankole and members of NASS, are we not inviting the military?

08023110526
Thanks for the story. You mean the money is not part of their wages? I think our system is too robust. We don't need two houses. Crime is crime. Taking what is not yours is a crime.

08163387007
Bankole used the N10 billion to settle 'awon' boys so that no prying eyes will make noise over the several underhand deals. He did not count on Dino Melaye and the progressives, and EFCC. We must be eternally vigilant if we don't want the treasury devouring roller coaster to continue.

08035792801
Do we as a nation continue to allow Bankole and Co? The madness must stop, or else Nigeria will only grow without development to show for her age and wealth.

08037040092
Thanks for the piece. Very interesting. I suggest that immunity does not cover the aforementioned principal officers. They should be arrested and prosecuted by EFCC along with Bankole.

Ige Oladipo, 08055119021
You enumerated myriads of problems staring us in the face and begging for answers. Which party has been in power since 1999 till date. Is Bankole different from PDP leadership style? Why did PDP win if Nigerians are complaining? What's Jonathan in power equation since 1999? Any blueprint to address the problems since over one year in office? We are either married to suffering or the poll was rigged.

08034282719.
The issue of jumbo pay for political office holders can only be tackled by ordinary Nigerians through mass action akin to the Egyptian andTunisian examples.The politicians, including the president, will not help. Only mass action can do it. Who will spearhead this?

Dr. Mairiga (KSM), 08037001190
(To be continued)