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Two-day downpour disrupts Lagos traffic

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The skies opened up in fury for the second day running on Friday in Lagos and parts of Ogun State, leaving the roads and some buildings flooded.

Motorists and commuters groaned after they were stranded in traffic for hours.

But the Lagos State Government assured residents that the situation was under control.

It said efforts would be intensified to clear the drains at all times and ensure compliance with guidelines on refuse disposal.

Similar flooding experience has devastated Europe, claiming at least 125 lives, many of them in Germany.

The Lagos rain started at about 12 noon yesterday and pounded the metropolis for about three hours.

Most hit by the flooding in Lagos were Marina, Mushin, Oshodi, Ladipo/PWD, Agege, Gbagada, Iyana-Ipaja and Mile 2.

Ikeja, including Awolowo Way, Oba Akran and Ikeja-Along on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway were not spared.

It was particularly bad at Marina where the several car parks there and the vehicles parked therein were submerged.

One motorist was heard lamenting that he would not be able to drive home last night.

Commercial motorists hiked their fares which some commuters found unaffordable.

Such commuters opted to trek long distances.

Many heavy-duty articulated vehicles, convoys and security vans were also trapped in the gridlock.

The flood swept the debris on its path, blocking some drains and drainage channels.

Some residents were seen evacuating water from their houses while others attempted to clear narrow water channels and unpaved drainages around their neighbourhoods.

Social media users shared videos of the havoc caused by the flooding on Facebook and Instagram.

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A banker, Kemisola, who works on the Island but lives in Iyana-Ipaja, said she spent long hours in traffic.

Also, Adebayo, another Lagosian who lives in Ajah noted that the rain made it hard for commuters to get transport to their various destinations as there were fewer buses with inflated fares on the road.

LASG: We anticipated flooding, warns Lagosians to follow guidelines on refuse disposal

Responding to the flooding yesterday, the Lagos State Government said the situation was under control.

It urged residents to remain calm and said efforts would be intensified to clear the drains at all time and ensure compliance with guidelines on refuse disposal.

Lagos State Special Adviser on Drainage Management, Comrade Joe Igbokwe, lamented that residents often violated the guidelines, unmindful of the consequences.

He recalled that the Ministry of Environment had alerted Lagosians to the imminence of rains and flooding ahead of the raining season.

Igbokwe said flooding is a global phenomenon during this raining reason, pointing out that Western countries, including Great Britain and Belgium, are not insulated from flooding.

The special adviser, who spoke on the phone, allayed the fears of Lagosians about its likely effects, stressing that the waters would dry off before sunrise today.

He said: “It rained cat and dog today in Lagos and beyond. We expected the ‘flash flood’ for three hours due to the downpour.

“Some countries in Europe, for example, England and Belgium, were also affected. We have been clearing the drains. It is a continuous work in this raining season. We clear them as they are filled.

“You will see our men in yellow uniform, people from our ‘Emergency Flood Abetment Gang,’ working to free the tertiary drains. We dredge the canals always.”

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Igbokwe frowned at the habit of indiscriminate refuse dumping by many Lagosians, saying they are compounding the challenge of drainage maintenance.

He said while local councils have virtually abandoned the prime duty of clearing the tertiary drains and canals, many people block the channels with refuse.

Igbokwe said: “People still fill the drainage with refuse. They have the bad habit of blocking them with refuse. It is unbearable.

“Local governments that are supposed to take charge of tertiary drains in front of our houses are not doing it. It impacts on the secondary and primary drains. Local government is neglecting this duty.

“People are building on channels, very close to canals. Our bulldozers cannot even access the canals sometimes.

“At Ojota Bridge, for example, people sell on top of the canal. They don’t allow water to flow. They block the drainage. We will either remove them from the place and enforce compliance with environmental laws.

“We are working. We are not relenting. Lagos is a coastal state. I appeal to Lagosians not to worry. The flood will disappear in few hours.”

NEMA to Lagosians: Observe safety precautions

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) urged residents of Lagos State to observe safety precautions during downpours.

Acting Assistant Zonal Coordinator, NEMA Southwest Zonal Office, Ibrahim Farinloye, said in a statement that “once the rainwater gets to half of the wheels, it sweeps off your vehicle. Kindly park and move on to higher ground for safety.

“The rainwater must have risen above our ankles, once it happens like this, the flood has the capacity to carry you off.”

The NEMA boss warned people living in buildings with signs of danger to report to the appropriate agencies for assistance.

“Residents of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Amuwo Odofin, Ikeja, Ojo, Kosofe, Apapa, Epe, Oshodi-Isolo, Shomolu, Surulere and Ajeromi /Ifelodun LGAs are advised to be more careful when it rains.”

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VIDEO: Vehicles trapped as heavy downpour grounds Lagos

However, the parked vehicles were not spared the adverse effects of the rain as most were submerged.

Several residents of the megacity took to social media to share pictures and videos of their areas affected by the flood in both the mainland and island parts of the state.



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