BY Olasunkomi Akoni, Chioma Obinna & Ola Ajayi
LAGOS – Sunday’s heavy rainfall, which crippled Lagos State, has forced Governor Babatunde Fashola to declare a public holiday for all public and private schools in the state.
Vehicular and human movements, including commercial activities in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub were paralysed.
The rain, which started at about 5am in most parts of the state, lasted till late into the night, flooding homes and roads across the state.
The roads were rendered impassable, while residents in some areas struggled to salvage their household items from the flood. In Jakande Estate, flood swept cars and buses.
Reacting to the flood, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, advised residents not to panic, noting that the flood will soon recede.
Opeifa noted that the state government was taking steps to avert a possible disaster in parts of the state where the situation is critical.
Similarly, Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, pleaded with Lagosians to be patient with the state government, saying the rain was exceptionally heavy and prolonged.
He said: “Dear Lago-sians, please bear with us. Today’s downpour has been heavier than normal as the state government had earlier warned. It has been raining since 5am in many areas and it hasn’t stopped.
“The water level had risen incredibly and the channels that were meant to discharge water from the roads and drainages are completely blocked because of the high tide and because the Atlantic Ocean and Lagoon that receive water from our channels have risen more than usual.”
Areas worst affected were the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Egbeda, Agege, Ojo, Ipaja-Ayobo, Igando, Orile as well as Ahmadu Bello Way and part of Adeola Odeku Street on Victoria Island. Also affected was part of Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, especially the round-about linking Oba Akran Way, among others.
The flood was serious on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, particularly opposite the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, where motorists were seen wading through flood waters which covered houses and cars. The development resulted in heavy traffic jam.
It was a similar situation at the U-turn close to Abule-Ado Bus Stop, where flood took over the road stretching towards the access road to Satellite Town from the Badagry expressway.
Passengers were also left stranded at bus stops as there were few commercial buses on the road, yesterday. Most of communters were seen taking shelter at Alakija bus stop shed and rushed at intervals to board buses.
On Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, it was a traumatic situation for motorists, especially near Mile 2 where the drainage system had completely failed leading to heavy flooding on the expressway.
Several vehicles, especially smaller cars, were stucked in the water further compounding the traffic situation. Vehicles found it difficult to maneuver their way through the murky flood.
Officials of companies located close to Mile 2, whose premises were submerged, battled to salvage their businesses by channeling the water to the express road using pumping machines.
On Ahmadu Bello/Adeola Odeku turning on Victoria Island, vehicles were seen wading through the water leading to traffic jam which stretched towards Bonny Camp. Part of the Ahmadu Bello opposite the popular Lagos Bar Beach was also submerged.
The fence of two houses collapsed, causing serious damage to an SUV in Olowokere and Church streets in the Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area, even as residents of four other streets (Alhaja Mama, Akin Olugbade, Bilesanmi and Jemi Alade streets) have all evacuated in order to avoid another disaster.
Two people have lost their lives in the last two weeks in the area. A 16-year-old boy, Segun was rescued by residents last week from drowning.