Fashola: The Rains Will Damage Roads

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Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has called on Lagosians to prepare as heavy rainfall this season will surely damage several roads in the state.

The governor spoke on Sunday at the inaugural dinner and ball to commemorate his swearing-in for a second term in office held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, South West Nigeria.

“During each season of heavy rain and winter in Europe the roads are damaged and they are repaired after the season, and this is also what happens here.

“Between the end of the rainy season around October last year and today, our Public Works Corporation has been all over Lagos. They have attended to over 600 roads and they are still working.

“The impending rainy season will herald more damage and we will again maintain and repair during and after the season as much as our resources will take us. This is the never ending cycle of human existence and I crave your understanding it,” he said.

According to the governor, “as I speak, Lagos is experiencing Atlantic waves that are up to 6 metres high, and flooding of Ikoyi and Victoria Island has only been prevented by the efforts made by your government to build a sea defence wall on the Bar Beach.

“Our state cannot expect to be different. We are approaching our own period of bad weather. Nature will have its way, your government has been clearing and cleaning the drains since November last year in preparation and we have not stopped working, but when nature takes over, we must, I appeal, learn to endure.”

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Fashola told the elite at the dinner that “it is an appropriate time for me to inform us that the signs for a very severe flooding are all out in the open. Nature is reacting very violently across the world and the evidence abounds before our eyes from the tsunami in Japan, to the displacement of thousands of people and destruction of homes in many parts of America as a result of flooding due to high rainfall.

“These are countries where there is a consensus not to dump refuse in drains, but even they have not been spared. It is not because government has failed to act in any particular manner, it is because they are experiencing bad weather and nature must have its way to maintain the balance of the ecosystem. In deed without a degree of rainfall there will be food scarcity and starvation.”

The governor reminded the audience that in the last four years, the state had built 84 kilometres of drainage network, dredged 118 kilometres of existing canals and desilted over 440 kilometres of drainages across the state.

“But instead of allowing these facilities to serve their optimal purposes, we have chosen to dump refuse in them and expect government to come back to remove them.

“In other instances, some of us have obstructed the flow of water through them by building our houses on drainage paths, only to turn round to complain about flooding when it happens, or accuse government of being insensitive when we exercise the right option of removing buildings that block drainages,” he stated.

Fashola harped on consensus between the government and the elite to champion the cause of building Lagos and moving it to the next level, adding that “if we wish to see better traffic flow, we must reach a consensus to stop trading on the streets and our elite must resolve to stop shopping from inside their cars while on the highway. It only compounds the traffic problem. “You all know too well those other places where the consensus I have spoken about is needed. Consensus is needed in areas such as waiting at traffic lights; being patient when there are traffic bottlenecks or when you are expecting service from us; being law abiding and waiting for your turn; resisting the temptation to induce or to offer inducement for quicker service; paying your taxes promptly and living within the law and protecting public property.”

—Kazeem Ugbodaga