By Jude Njoku, Kingsley Adegboye & Bose Adelaja
Lagos the acclaimed ‘Centre of Excellence’, was yesterday crippled by flood resulting from a heavy downpour which began in the early hours of Tuesday and lasted till mid-evening. The heavy flooding which was prevalent in virtually all parts of Lagos, exposed the lack of drainage channels and the dilapidated state of roads in the metropolis.
The flood worsened the already chaotic transport system in the city, leaving commuters to trek long distances to get to their places of work or business. Some rickety vehicles that dared the floods, got stuck midway.
Vanguard Metro, VM, correspondents who went round various parts of the mega-city reported that even the rich also cried, as the highbrow neighbourhoods were not spared from the wrath of the rampaging flood. Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula and Ikeja were no-go places as the flood impeded vehicular movement in the areas.
If the highbrow areas were ravaged by the floods, residents of the slummy parts of the city are still counting their losses. In these neighbourhoods, the flood threw up heaps of refuse which blocked the drainage outlets. Some of the smelly refuse which were bagged and pure water sachets, floated uncontrollably as helpless residents waded through them to navigate to their destinations.
At the ever commercially- busy Ikotun Bus Stop in the Igando/Ikotun, LCDA, the massive floods which swept through the area, very close to the Alimosho Local Government secretariat, disrupted both vehicular and pedestrian movements.
Virtually all the roads in Coker Village and Amukoko were also heavily flooded. The worst affected was the road that links Opere Street through Alafia Bus-stop. VM learnt that some residents of the area were forced to remain indoors while children who managed to go to school, were trapped in their various schools because the roads had been taken over by the scary floods.
The Apapa-Oshodi expressway which links the Apapa and Tin Can Ports, the two major seaports in Nigeria, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, was on lock down as a result of the chaotic traffic jam along the ever-busy dual carriageway.
Commuters were trapped in the traffic web, thereby creating an opportunity for commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called Okada riders to exploit the stranded commuters. Those who could afford their charges, went on motor bikes to access their business spots. Such passengers paid between N500 and N1000 for a distance which ordinarily should not cost more than N100 or N150.
At the Rainbow Bus-stop end of the Oshodi Apapa expressway, the traffic, stretched beyond Sanya and to Ijesha Bus-stop.
The stories were the same at Badagry, Ikorodu, Alimosho, Iyana-Iba and Sango Ota. Reports from other parts of the metropolis revealed that major roads in Agege, Ikeja, Agbado-Ijaye, Oshodi, Mushin, Ajegunle, Festac, Amuwo, Satellite, Badagry, etc, were also flooded, even as some vehicles were submerged by water.
Residents of Agbado-Okearo said commercial drivers charged exorbitant fares because several vehicles could not ply the route. Some workers who arrived their places of work before the rain, said they were forced to stay extra hours in their offices to avoid being held up in the gridlock. Commuters were stranded for hours at Mile Two- Badagry road as the gridlock stretched from Alabarago to Alakija. Many of the stranded passengers had no alternative than to patronise motorcyclists.
A resident of Iyana-Iba who works in Apapa said he went to Seme in the morning while the rain was drizzling. He told VM that he was overwhelmed on getting to Iyana-Iba as flood had almost taken over the entire area. ‘’I don’t usually patronise motorcyclists but I could not help the situation today (yesterday).
Madam Buki Oyerinde who lives at Sango-Ota but works in Agege, said she could not return to her abode at the close of work because she was not sure of arriving home before midnight.