The recent Lagos flooding was a major highlight of events in Lagos this time last week. We had two people who shared their thoughts on the causes and what can be done to avoid the recurrence of such in the nearest future.
Nkuturum Ebenezer Woke of the Department of Forestry Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin said, “I have taken time to read updates on Lekki flood recently and what is happening now in some parts of Lagos. “Flooding ” is the consequence of neglecting and disobeying natural principles that govern our Universe. Humans especially the rich may think that they can surpass and be in control of everything on earth including disobedience to natural principles and laws.
They have decided to chase water away and build their mansion on the land originally occupied by water; “It can’t Happen” Water is one of the fundamental Elements of Alchemy. It is slow in anger, may also be slow in movement but its effect is devastating.
When waters come for revenge, they come with great magnitude of anger, and that is what my people are experiencing in those parts of Lagos where they will have to give way for the original occupant of the area-Water. The movement of water can not be stopped by either Air, Fire nor Earth (The other three Elements). Water will always come back to it’s natural habitat no matter how long time it takes. Water will always remain water.
Ogbo Awoke, Former Surveyor (Remote Sensing) at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said, “Number One: Lekki is completely flat – there’s very insignificant variation in altitude. Two: Lekki is somewhat below sea level. A combination of those two factors meant that a mere 50 cm rise in the Atlantic ocean level could rapidly build a handshake between the ocean and the Lagoon. I hate to imagine the implication to the VI-Lekki-Ajah corridor. But who cares? And who should care when “God is in control” as we say in Nigeria. No one will measure.
About the time I worked in Chevron, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated a very conservative forecast of rise in ocean levels of 65 cm by 2100. That has since been adjusted to over 100 cm. We may say, “Oh 2100 is a long way ahead!” And that is what kills the “Black Man!” (pardon the racial cliché). Lack of foresight! Poor planning.
Thinking and living for the moment only. No one is measuring. Well, the bad news is that scientists are not sure how fast or how soon this 100 cm rise will happen and what other geological events other than polar ice melting could trigger the rise. We saw a little rainfall a couple of days and panicked. Like the behind of a hen when the breeze blows, we were confronted by our nakedness and utter helplessness with just a little rain. How about if it rained 40 days and 40 nights?
Here is the worst tragedy of all: We’re not learning! Uka Igwe, my boyhood friend, posted what I thought was the most brilliant commentary on the Lekki-VI floods on his Facebook wall this morning, Said he: _“We have recently been inundated with pictures of flooding all over Lekki in Lagos, there have also been stories of continuous rain for nearly a week. The pictures are distressing especially for the people who live in Lekki, Victoria Island, Aja etc._ _“However what has been missing seems to be any structured reports of the amount of rainfall that has caused this. How many millimeters of rainfall has caused this amount of havoc.
This kind of information is invaluable in proffering a solution to the problem. I hate to think that perhaps there is no such information available. Right there in Victoria Island is the National Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research. I shudder to think that even they don’t have the data.”_ That, my friends, is the tragedy of the Nigerian situation. Someone who works at the Agency that Uka referenced actually confirmed that the data doesn’t exist! In his depressing words, the Federal Agency, like others, is there “just to receive allocation and salary!”
Listen, people, it is impossible to run a civilization on haunch and feelings! A poor country will remain a poor country UNTIL they begin to make RESEARCH and DATA-DRIVEN decisions!
I’m terrified to imagine that no one is capturing data on these floods! I’m terrified that no agency is on TV showing us an impact map of the event! Because none exists.
Nature is so kind. The Vanguard Newspaper report of July 8 began with “As usual flood ravaged Lekki, Victoria Island … after many days of down pour….”
Did you notice the “As usual?” Each year, the Lekki-VGC-VI corridor receives a yellow card. How many more yellow cards before the red, no one knows. I’m not a Murphy evangelist but from experience if a red might come, it will come. It’s just a matter of when.
About the lie.
The preacher said, “I hope this is not the reason Ogbo moved out of the Lekki area.”
My lie: “Not really. Lekki and VGC are for the big boys! And I’m not a big boy yet.”
I actually ran away from the area but I didn’t want to sound as if the people living there were not smart. We have the cream of Nigeria in that axis. For all I care, I might just have been a coward – what our people call fear-fear.
Nevertheless, Lagos has zero natural disaster contingency plan as many families discovered over the weekend. No one came for you as you watched your beautiful sitting room turning into a fish pond.
No one has even mentioned insurance in the narratives.
Same thing in Port Harcourt. Aba Road is to Port Harcourt what testicles are to a man. Hold him ‘there’ and he throws up his hands in surrender. If a disaster sinks Aba Road 2 million residents will be trapped in a rabbit hole.
If the Lagos government would listen, there needs to be an urgent thorough interdisciplinary study of the State involving scientists, geologists, soil scientists, engineers, satellite remote sensing experts, GIS, oceanographers, marine biologists, anthropologists, computer scientists and so on. There are analytical and predictive tools to model the next 5, 10, 50, 100 year scenarios and plan intelligently.
••• At best, my people of Lekki, VGC, Ajah and VI, please stay as dry as you possibly can. That’s what Facebook tells me whenever the rain is about to fall.
May God bless and keep you safe!”
Let’s have your opinions, how can we stop the recurrence of flooding in Lagos? What do you think were the causes in the first place?