Flooding is a yearly recurrent issue in Lagos. It has become more frequent in the recent past. Almost every year, we see more havoc caused by the incessant action of flooding, especially during the peak of the rainy season. It has in the past and recently rendered residents homeless and companies jobless. Cars and houses submerged in water, commuters wading through buses knee-high in floods, and homeowners counting the cost of destroyed properties.
Though flooding is experienced in most parts of Lagos, the areas most affected include Lekki, Ajah, Victoria Island, Agege, Ifako, Gbagada, Iyana-Ipaja, Ayobo, Oworo, and Ebutte Metta to mention but a few. Whenever flooding happens, it always affects lots of businesses and prevents lots of commuters, students, and workers from leaving their homes. The floods stopped residents from going about their daily activities as many stayed indoors. Children weren’t left out as they could go to school nor do their normal evening play on the playground. Sometimes, properties worth millions of naira are damaged during this flooding. It is estimated that around $4 billion in economic activity is paralyzed by floods havoc every year.
Whenever it rains to the extent of causing flooding, road movement in Lagos is always annoying. Residents are forced to stay indoors and those that managed to leave their houses will be stuck where they find themselves. Sometimes, the roads will not passable and some cars will end up spoiling and blocking the roads. Traffic gridlocks are a constant whenever flooding happens and many residents that managed to leave their houses get stuck in the flood. They end up seeking help to push their cars out of the flood. It’s really always frustrating for the residents.
Lagos is partly built on the mainland and has a string of islands. It is grappling with an eroding coastline that makes the city vulnerable to flooding, which could be attributable to global warming and human-induced action over a prolonged period. We have lots of building construction that was done closing drainages and carnal which were supposed to allow passage of rainwater. Beyond Lagos’ vulnerability to climate change, this problem is exacerbated by inadequate and poorly maintained drainage systems, clogged street gutters, and uncontrolled urban growth, among others. Some residents dump their waste in the drainage lines leading to their blockages. However, as flooding rages in some areas, low-income neighborhoods’ constructed on reclaimed wetlands have to contend with sinking buildings.
In order to reverse or at least prevent this flooding issue from getting worse over time, the government should look at the following pressing issues. What are their strategies for climate change? According to Seyifunmi Adebote, a Nigerian environmentalist, they need to look at the infrastructures on the ground – drainage systems, waste management facilities, and housing structures. He went ahead to ask “how resilient and adaptive are these infrastructures in the face of environmental pressures and when put side-by-side with Lagos growing population”? Furthermore, it’s important that blocked carnal and drainages be reopened or new ones put in place to allow for easy flow of water whenever it rains. Unless this is done, home to more than 24 million people, Lagos, a low-lying city on Nigeria’s Atlantic coast, may become uninhabitable by the end of this century.