Prepare For More Violent Storms, Lagos Warns Residents


The Lagos State Government has called on Lagosians to prepare for more violent storms, wind and heavy rainfall this year.


Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, disclosed this yesterday at a Town Hall Meeting with community development/residents associations in Lagos Central Senatorial District, held in Surulere, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.


According to him, “the rain this year is going to be very heavy. It will come with more violent storms and wind. We will let you know if we are going to have storm. No country in the world is flood-free but we can minimise the impact if we do our own parts, we must work together.”


Bello said Lagos is the most vulnerable states in the country when it comes to flooding, as the state is located below sea level, saying that Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti Rivers empty their water into the Lagos Lagoon where it goes to the Atlantic Ocean.


“Presently, the ocean worldwide has risen. In Lagos, the water from the Lagoon goes into the Atlantic Ocean. Once the Atlantic Ocean is full, the water from the Lagos Lagoon cannot get into it; that is what normally leads to flooding.


“We can minimise the impact of the flood if we clean our environment and stop dumping refuse into drains. Since January, we have started cleaning the drainages. We are prepared for the rains,” he said.


The commissioner warned taxi drivers, market men and women to stop dumping waste into drainage channels as such act would lead to flood, warning also that any market found to be dirty would be shut down and would not be opened until three months time.


He told the gathering that the climatic condition worldwide had changed as rain could fall at any time without recourse to what season of the year.


Speaking at the event, Governor Babatunde Fashola lamented the high rate of flagrant abuse of environmental sanitation standards and laws, saying that it was disheartening that some people are still falling back into their old habits of indiscriminate dumping of refuse, open defecation and urination, street trading, construction of mechanic workshops, among others on drainage alignments, road setbacks and verges.

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“Lagos presently has a population of 18 million people and it is still increasing. The implication of that on our environment is increased tons of waste generation. If this trend of environmental abuse, especially indiscriminate waste disposal, persists, it may spell more doom than what we are experiencing now in terms of flooding.


“Each time a shop is open or a firm commences business, there is a significant increase in the tons of wastes generated daily. As much as it is understood that people must do business to survive, it is required that businesses be conducted in a way that sufficient consideration is given to the environment and most importantly, about waste generation and disposal,” he said.


Fashola, whose speech was read by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Oluranti Adebule, said “this untoward behavior must be nipped in the bud if we must sustain our present status and position among the leading cities of the world.


“I, therefore, emphasise the state government’s zero tolerance to all forms of environmental abuses. Thus, whoever indulges in such behavior, whether high or low, wealthy or poor is considered an enemy of the state.


“We cannot allow our efforts of four years to be thwarted by those who have made themselves a clog in the wheels of progress. We cannot surrender the future of the unborn generation to them.”


The governor stated that “all we need is the will to conquer these environmental challenges, the will to live, the will to bequeath a befitting environment to posterity. The aggressive environmental drive in Lagos State is adequately justified by the urgent need to stem the current trend of global warming and climate change ravaging the global terrain.


Fashola called on Lagosians to stop patronising cart pushers as they dump refuse in drainage channels, adding that “they are the enemies of our society and we must all join hands to fight and eliminate them from the streets of Lagos.”


—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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