10th March, 2020
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday alerted residents of the state of an impending near normal rainfall of between 240 to 270 days this year.
Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, at a news conference on the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions and prevention of flooding in the State in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, stated that the maximum annual rainfall was predicted to be 1,750mm.
Bello said the earliest predicted onset of the rainy season was 17th March with other areas following, adding that the rainy season was expected to cease earliest by 22 November in Surulere with other areas following after.
The commissioner added that Ikeja was expected to have about 1526mm, while that of Badagry was 1750mm, Lagos Island with 1714mm, Ikorodu with 1690mm and Epe with 1730mm of rainfall.
Bello disclosed that the report which was obtained from the Nigerian Meteorological services (NIMET) indicated further that Lagos Island was expected to have a rainfall onset date of 19th March with an error margin of three days, while its cessation date is expected to be 26th of November.
He said this year’s prediction by NIMET was based on the global consensus that El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was at the neutral phase which would continue till around August or September.
“It is also expected that Lagos Island will have about 252 days of rainfall with about 1714mm of rainfall through the year,” he said.
Bello disclosed that the predictions of the Agency were valuable as vital weather and early warning tools for planners, decision makers and operators of the various sectors and businesses that might be impacted by the annual rainfall, if not well managed.
Re-assuring Lagosians on the issue of floods, Bello said in a coastal area like Lagos, it was natural that, “sometimes when it rains, we are likely to have flash-floods on our roads as normal occurrences all over the world.
“As long as the drains are clean, we should be assured that, in a matter of time, the flash flood will disappear”.
According to him, it was only when flood remained on the roads for days that it could be said to be flood.
“It must be noted that, anytime the Lagoon level rises, it may “lock up” the discharge points drainage channels and until it recedes, there will be no discharge. Occurrences like these also cause backflows, resulting to flooding. But as soon as the Lagoon recedes, all the generated storm water will immediately discharge and our roads will be free.
“The Lagos State Government has established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority and this has ensured control and monitoring of the steady and systematic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding of the downstream communities;
According to him, since last year the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang under Drainage Maintenance Department of the Ministry have been consistently de-silting and working on secondary collectors and conduits, to enable them discharge efficiently.
The Commissioner urged Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) to ensure advertising and communication agencies comply with regulations on safety and stability of billboards and telecommunication masts in readiness for the strong winds expected during the onset and cessation of every rainfall.
He said all relevant security and emergency agencies would be adequately informed to be ever ready for any negative effects of flooding.
”All emergency agencies, traffic management agencies and other emergency related outfits will be put on the alert to assist in reducing the havoc that may arise from the incidents of flooding in the State.”
Bello advised Lagosians who reside along flood plains, coastal and low-lying wetland areas near major rivers to always be on the alert and be ready to relocate, when the need arises.
He maintained that government shall, as usual, notify such residents at the appropriate time. He also urged motorists to observe prescribed speed limits during the rainy reason, to avoid loss of lives and property.
The Environment Commissioner appealed to Lagosians to desist from acts that can lead to flooding, indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places.
Bello assured that the contact of Drainage Resident Engineers will be made available in all our 57 Local Governments Areas and Local Council Development Areas to attend to the needs of residents before, during and after the rainy season.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Special adviser on Drainage and water Resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe said the Government was working seriously with all Local Governments to sensitize market men and women, saying that the government would not hesitate to shut down any erring market.
Igbokwe also noted that there had been a rise in population and that government would not relent in performing its responsibilities of maintaining cleanliness in the environment, stressing that work was seriously going on to clear canals and drains in Oshodi, Isolo, Mushin, Ladipo among others.
He enjoined the people of Lagos to support government efforts by complementing through regular clearing of drains in their frontages to ensure free-flow of storm water as well as to desist from dumping of refuse into drainage channels and roads.