Lagos State, Africa’s most populous city with a population strength of over 24 million people, has again started suffering its yearly impact of high intensity rainfalls. From cars and houses getting submerged in water, to commuters and residents walking in water at knee-high level to loss of lives and properties, Lagos State residents, especially on Lagos Island, are facing one of the worst mid-July rainfalls in recent years. This event and more proves the claim by the Economist magazine that Lagos State is the second worst city to live in after the war-torn Damascus, the capital city of Syria. 

Quick catch-up 
Back in March 2022, the Lagos State Government had projected a high-intensity rainfall of 1,750mm. The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMET, which usually predicts the expected rainfall and temperature in the country, had made an early prediction of a heavy rainfall in Lagos at the start of the year, which was later confirmed by the state government in March. 

  • However, the Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu led administration urged “Lagosians” not to fret or panic as adequate measures had been put in place to ensure the safety of lives and properties. 
  • The Lagos State Commissioner of Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, had called for caution as they expected strong winds during this year’s rainy season. 

Why this is happening 
While some environmentalists blame these recurring floods on climate change seeing the industrial prowess that Lagos state prides on, others say that the poor state of drainage systems and clogged street gutters in large parts of the city escalate the current flooding challenges. Another sect of environmentalists blames sand mining of shorelines as a notable cause of flooding, seeing as this act erodes the state’s coastline, leaving it susceptible to flooding. 

What they are saying 

  • The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, appealed to residents to be cautious as “Lagos will experience more heavy rains till the end of August.”
  • The Governorship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Lagos State, Dr. Olajide Adediran, has announced that he had “set up a Disaster Recovery Team across 20 local government areas from our network of members to offer immediate assistance to the victims”

What to expect 

  • The flooding in Lagos will not improve anytime soon unless the state government intensifies the steps it has taken or implement some new policies to tackle this environmental problem. 
  • Lagos State Government has since started clearing the state’s water channels to provide free passage of excess water during high-intensity rainfalls. 
  • Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism about partnering with global allies to tackle climate change. 

What you should know 

  • According to the data by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) over 2 million people were displaced or killed by the direct influence of flooding in 2020. 
  • In 2019, over 200,000 people also suffered the direct impact of floods, with about 158 people dying in the process. 
  • Economically, the re-occurring floods in the mega city cost the Lagos State government an estimated sum of around $4 billion per year.
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