Effects Of Flooding: FG's Assistance For Lagos An Urgent Imperative - Fashola
• Says President Jonathan has shown concern as he tours affected areas for third day running
Jul 13, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Wednesday continued his on the spot assessment of areas affected by last Sunday's heavy down pour in Lagos State saying the State would seek assistance from the Federal Government to address the effects of the flood which now has a national impact.
Governor Fashola who toured flood affected areas in the Eti-Osa local Government Area, including the Alpha Beach where erosion had been further aggravated, said the Atlantic Ocean was currently redrawing the geographical map of Nigeria adding that the State Government would do an estimate of the cost of providing palliative measures to stem the encroachment of the Ocean and present same to the Federal Government for assistance.
According to the Governor, who spoke in an interview with newsmen at the back of NICON Town in Ajah after the inspection, "I am told that we need to put a shoreline protection like we did at the Bar Beach over a minimum area of three metres on the Alpha Beach. We are going to do an estimate and expect that we should get support from the Federal Government and the President".
He said President Goodluck Jonathan has been very concerned and has called him to express concern and sympathize with the Government and people of Lagos State, adding that the next step was to do the financial costing which would be sent to the Federal Government.
On what the State Government is doing on its part, Governor Fashola disclosed that 10 major storm channels are under construction in the area, adding that the storm channels would assist in draining water from the Atlantic Ocean side of Eti Osa into the lagoon across the expressway.
The Governor explained that the storm water construction would ensure that year in year out and going into the future there is a reliable drainage infrastructure for Lekki and Eti-Osa region of the State.
Governor Fashola, who inspected the Alpha Beach which has been severely eroded, explained that what has been witnessed at the beach was a natural erosion which, according to him, "is a consequence of the rise in water level which is a result of global warming".
"What we need to do there is to reclaim the beach. We have lost about 50 metres of land to the ocean and it is continuing. You could see that the road has begun to cave in there. It is a natural disaster which is not as a result of the rain", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola, who also spoke on health risks to the residents of the flooded areas, said Government was concerned by the body of water brought into the area by the flood which may carry some dangers in terms of water borne diseases.
"We are just appealing to the citizens to be extra careful. As much as possible, wash your hands and feet regularly if you have to walk through the water, using regular soaps. Our health workers have been mobilized and will go round in the fullness of time to assist in the sanitization and also give you disinfectant where it is possible across communities", the Governor told the residents.
He appealed to local government chairmen and community leaders to help and support the people in the area of hygiene, adding that the State Government has opened collection centres in the Ministries of Health and Special Duties where public spirited people who want to donate relief materials to the people could go and donate.
Governor Fashola who also responded to a question on whether activities of some traditional rulers may have been impeding the construction of some of the drainage channels, said he would rather not identify the problem as the challenge of traditional rulers alone.
The Governor who spoke specifically about the NICON Estate in Ajah, said it does not have a traditional ruler yet adding, "Government is having challenges about building a storm water channel through the estate to drain water into the lagoon".
"It is a judgmental call really about the value you put on land and I think that really is the issue. People place so much value and premium on their land, but at the end what is the value of a flooded land and a depreciating real estate. So, it is a question of real judgment to say, let me yield some of this land because Government has no interest to take your land except to build a storm water channel through it so that your property is secured and safe and that is our responsibility", the Governor said.
According to him, "One way to do this is by building storm water channels and if you say we cannot use your land to build the storm water channel, maybe in 10 years time you will have no land at all. If I were in a position that I would give away some land to keep more land instead of putting the whole estate at risk, I would do so. These are the kind of proposals that we will make".
He added, "We have a similar problem with Chevron Estate at Okun-Afa and Igbokuta where the water drains from the drainage we are constructing from Silver Bird Television area in Maiyegun. This is the final outflow into the lagoon. If we can't cross through here, we can't solve the problem of that side".
Continuing, the Governor said, "The water has to come through this storm channel to get to the final drain which is the lagoon. So, if estates like NICON and CHEVRON and all of those community interests stand in our way, clearly they would have helped to endanger this whole community because we are ready to go".
Other places visited by the Governor during the tour include Ilasan where he inspected the channels at Igbokusu and Silver Bird Road where he stopped by to address the residents to be ready to remove some of the buildings that are on the drain line.
He sympathized with residents who lost properties during the 16-hour rain, adding that there is a need for the people to respect the drain line and have patience with the contractors who are working on them to complete the contract.
He urged the land owners to desist from selling land indiscriminately especially those on drain lines, adding that when they do this they set off a chain of action which causes anguish to the whole community.
Governor Fashola also visited the Maiyegun Beach to see the suspended alignment to drain Igbo Efon, Alpha Beach to inspect Coastal erosion and also inspected the 11.8 kilometre culvert point Channel 7 near UBA.
At the Agungi Channel where he inspected construction alignment on Channel 6 and was briefed that some residents are preventing the contractor from going ahead with the work, Governor Fashola gave a directive to State officials to remove any culvert that is disturbing the progress of work on the alignment insisting that Government will establish all drainage channels to safeguard life and properties of the residents. He also visited Osapa London where he inspected the drain along the community.
The Governor was conducted round the affected areas by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainages in the Ministry of the Environment, Engineer Muyideen Akinsanya, Other officials who accompanied him on the tour include the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Remi Ibirogba, Special Adviser on the Environment, Dr Taofeek Folami, House of Asembly members representing Eti-Osa I and II, Hon. Kazeem Alimi and Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, their counterpart representing Ibeju/Lekki I, Hon. Mojeed Fatai and officials of the Department of Drainage Services.