About 24 million people live in Lagos, the commercial capital of the most populous nation in Africa – Nigeria. The city is the country’s first choice when a comparison is drawn with the capital cities of countries across the world.
Lagos is beautiful. The skyscrapers, the beaches (pun intended?), Nollywood, that particular bridge in every Nollywood movie, the business districts, the people, and more make Lagos the envy of many other African cities.
The beauty, though, is washed off like the mascara of a stylish yet ugly woman after a night out every time it rains. A slight drizzle can cause traffic gridlock for hours.
And why not? The surface of pothole-riddled roads that require careful navigation is nicely disguised in the drivers’ views by bodies of water on the highway. There goes your wheel alignment and someone else’s whole bumper.
When it rains, it becomes clear that alluring Lagos is actually quite disgusting. The contents of the gutters leave their location and come out to play with the rest of the humans.
Food containers, used condoms, baby napkins, and the occasional wallets are among the things that could get stuck in your shoes when you waddle home in the rain.
It is not particularly surprising to see floods in Lagos. It is a low-lying city on Nigeria’s Atlantic coast. Scientific projections claim it may become submerged by the end of this century as sea levels rise due to climate change.
What is even surprising is the failure of the state and federal governments to prevent or curb the damaging effects of the heavy rains and subsequent floods.
The Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency warns that there will be heavy rainfall which may lead to flooding. However, millions still lose lives and properties every year.
According to NEMA data, more than two million people were directly affected by flooding in 2020. At least 69 people lost their lives in flood disasters in that year. Meanwhile in 2019, more than 200,000 people were affected by floods, with 158 fatalities.
Why does it flood in Lagos?
The world is experiencing several changes in climate and weather conditions. While global warming advocates encourage people to protect the ozone layer and the environment, climate change cannot be stopped… but may be reduced.
Poor Urban Planning
How will a city live up to the mega status if there is no space for the millions of people inhabiting it? The ecosystem of Lagos deteriorates every day as new buildings spring up.
Sands that can help prevent flooding and the rise of the sea level are used for construction. Drainage systems are not efficient, and the city’s layout is not designed to deal with flooding.
The inhabitants of Lagos throw trash in the gutter, block drainage facilities, ignore environmental signs and warnings. This is why they find themselves exposed when the heavy rainfalls that cause flooding begin.
The government announced several plans to limit the effects of heavy rainfall and floods in Lagos and Nigeria, but this may not be enough.
All leaders, including community and youth leaders, should encourage the people in their domain. Flood warnings should not be ignored to avoid unpleasant consequences.
There should be public enlightenment at all levels to sensitise the public and make every individual feel a sense of responsibility for the environment and the beauty of Lagos.
Eko o ni baje o.