By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State government has alerted residents of the state of incoming heavy rains, amounting to 1,750mm in 2022, with attendant socio-economic implications for residents of the state.
The state government, however, urged residents not to panic, as every arrangement has been put in place to ensure adequate protection of lives and property.
Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, spoke, yesterday, at a media briefing on the 2022 Seasonal Climate Predictions in Lagos, held in Alausa, Ikeja.
According to Bello: “The predicted onset, cessation and rainfall amount of 2022 is similar to the prediction for 2021, and the implication is that we are anticipating to experience a rain pattern of high intensity and frequency similar to that of 2021. Lagos Island is expected to have a rainfall onset date as April 6, cessation date as November 30 and a total rainfall amount of 1627mm.
“However, the Seasonal Climate Prediction for Lagos State generally signifies that the onset dates range between March 17 in earliest and April 6, 2022 at the latest, while the cessation dates range between November 30 and December 5, 2022, while the Maximum Annual Rainfall amount is predicted to be 1,750mm.”
He said it was expected that the recent increasing frequency of extreme weather events would continue in 2022 with days of extremely high rainfall amounts, which might result in flooding.
“We call for caution as strong winds are expected during the onset and cessation of every rainfall just as envisaged harmattan are predicted which may cause reduction in visibility and bring about flight disruption and loss of revenue due to delays and cancellations in the aviation sector, ” Bello said.
On expected flooding, he said, “we want to assure you that our State will continue to reap the gains of careful and rigorous planning and execution, as our flood control measures are being stepped up to contain any imminent heavy rain falls.”
Towards ensuring a flood-free and hygienic environment in the state, Bello said the ministry has embarked on an all-year-round drainage maintenance for effective and efficient flood control, in addition to an efficient and sustainable solid waste management system.
The commissioner informed that “In the same vein, we are determined to maintain the long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority (OORBDA) which has ensured control and monitoring of the steady and systemic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding of the downstream reaches of Ogun River. This mutual relationship has been highly beneficial in the past and we intend to sustain it.
“Just last Tuesday, the management of Oyan Dam, OD and Water Resources, WR, had a meeting with the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority on ways to sustain our partnership in the sustainable management of flooding challenges and in the light of the study of hydro-geological mapping of Ogun River alignment presently being carried out by the agency.
“Therefore, the low-lying areas and neighbourhoods of Agiliti, Agboyi, Itowolo and Ajegunle communities in Lagos State are being closely monitored with respect to the likelihood of Ogun River flooding as well as all other river basins in the State. These places may also be highly vulnerable to heavy flooding this year.”
To forestall the incidences of collapse of telecommunication masts, occasioned by high velocity of the wind, during the onset and cessation of every rainfall, Bello said Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, will be on the alert to ensure advertising and communication agencies comply with regulations on safety of billboards and telecommunication masts.
“All emergency agencies, responders and Traffic Management outfits are also on standby to assist in reducing the negative impact of thunderstorm associated with rainfall in the State,”. he added.
Bello appealed to residents, particularly the media, to help educate the public that “sometimes when it rains heavily, it is natural to have flashfloods which will percolate or drain off quickly, as is the case in different parts of the world.
“It is only when flood remains on the roads several hours after the cessation of the rains that one can report that flooding has occurred. I wish to plead with the media to be more circumspect in the manner they report issue of flash flooding with banner headliners that could create panic.”
He noted that another contributory factor to flooding is Lagoon level rise. “Anytime there is high tidal movement, it may lock up the discharge points of drainage channels and until it recedes, there will be no discharge.
“Such occurrences also cause backflows, resulting to flooding. But as soon as the lagoon recedes, all the generated storm water will immediately discharge and our roads will be free.
“Our pro-active administration in the State, in response to the above phenomena, has strengthened the Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) to deliver reliable, timely and effective flood information at an appropriate response time.”