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Flooded drainage system

30.05.2023 news Inside Lagos Estate Where Residents Are Getting Ready for Disruptive Flood

Published 30th May, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

In what can be described as an annual struggle with nature, Lagos State is often in the grip of heavy rain and flooding. Although the heavy rains for this year are yet to begin, some parts of the state are already submerged.

On Monday afternoon, this reporter visited Ilasan Housing Estate in Lekki to speak with residents about their experiences with the annual flooding.

The roads were a flooded maze, and the drainage systems were filled with dirt, giving no room for water movement. There is no limit to what a passerby can experience in this estate, as vehicles splash water now and then.

‘FLOODING IS A NORM HERE’

I spoke with Taye, a vulcaniser, who sat alone under the shed he used as a shop. It appeared he was not the only occupant of the shed because there were fridges and chairs leaning on the wall.

While conversing with him, I learned that the other traders with whom he shared that spot did not come because of the water that settled right in front of the shed.

“I used to put my machine directly in front of my shop, but since the rain started, I’ve had to move it farther because this water has refused to go,” Taye told me.

He said flooding is a norm in the area during the rainy season.

“The drainages have been cleared several times, but that does not seem to work. As you can see, the water is just there.”

Taye's shop at Ilasan estate, Lekki
Taye’s shop

‘THE WORST IS YET TO COME’

For Nelson, another resident of the estate, the flooded streets and gutters this reporter saw on Monday were just a tip of the iceberg.

“Flooding has been happening here for long during the rainy season. And right now, the worst is still coming. More flood will still come,” he said.

“Once the heavy rains start, everywhere will be flooded. You won’t even know where to pass.”

Nelson told me that if I had been at the estate a few days earlier, my knees would have been submerged in the flood.

READ ALSO: Agiliti Residents Sacked by Lagos Gov’t Ahead of Impending Flood, but They Don’t Know Where to Go

He said the drainage systems in the estate were not working fine. He said this after disclosing that the drainage was cleared recently yet the flood remained a burning issue for residents.

“They packed the drainage recently, but that did not help. Even when rain is not falling, the drainage is always filled up. And when rain falls, everywhere becomes flooded.”

He said some residents who could not cope with the annual flooding had relocated while others would temporarily leave their houses until the rain had subsided.

‘WE NEED EFFECTIVE DRAINAGE SYSTEMS’

Unlike Taye and Nelson, Rukayat, a trader who had been residing in the estate for about 12 years, said the flood had minimal impact on her daily activities.

“I have been living here for 12 years, and the flood is an annual thing here. I don’t think it will be worse than this, because it gradually reduces after some hours,” said Rukayat.

However, she said effective drainage systems and renovation of some houses in the area would mitigate flooding.

“The dirt and sand in the gutters that can cause blockage were packed, but I wonder why the water is not moving. It’s still stagnant. I heard that Lagos government is trying to build a canal at Ebute. That could help address the flood issue.

“The government should build more effective drainage systems. Also, some houses need to be renovated to avoid flooding.”

‘GOVERNMENT DOESN’T NEED TO INTERVENE…’

“The government does not need to intervene in the flooding matter here. This is a private-owned estate,” Bayo, a road transport worker in the estate, said.

He said residents could easily solve the flooding issue without calling on the government.

“If it’s a government-owned estate, that is when the government is supposed to come in and do the needful,” he said.

“The residents know the problem and the solution. And the solution is simple.”

He said one of the estate occupants could volunteer to sponsor a total haulage of the dirt in the gutters to allow the rain to flow without restriction.

“One person can actually do it among them, but we are in Nigeria. No one wants to do it. It’s been long since they packed the drainage. They can easily solve this issue by emptying the dirts in the gutter.”

Also sharing his experience, a tricycle driver lamented the impact of the flood on his vehicle.

He told me that constant contact with water, made his vehicle rusty.

“Imagine someone who earns N10,000 daily but has to buy spare parts worth N20,000 to repair his vehicle because of rust. It really makes no sense.

“The more our vehicles are submerged in water, the more we have to fix one issue or the other.”

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Published 30th May, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

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