Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday said the massive flood which sacks some parts of Victoria Island and Lekki areas of the state at the weekend was a trying period for his administration.
The governor, who spoke at the at the Water technology and Environmental Control, WATEC, conference, held in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria lamented that the state had witnessed torrential rainfall which was quite unprecedented.
“For the past few days, the State, and indeed most parts of Nigeria, have witnessed torrential rainfall which are quite unprecedented. We have witnessed our most prime estates flooded with water, we have seen our roads taken over by floods, and we have painfully watched how many homesteads have literally become pools.
“These, in deed, are trying times for any government, especially our own administration which has determinedly pursued massive infrastructural development to improve standards of living of our citizenry,” he stated.
According to Ambode, “However, if we have learnt anything in the on-going flooding of some parts of the State, it is that there is an immediate, even urgent need for us to embark upon a review and re-engineering of our canals and drainage systems. This must be pursued hand-in-hand with a clear and crystal re-envisioning of our water management system.
“So, in effect, what we should immediately pursue is a holistic solution to what is certain to be a recurring problem. It must be a sincere collaboration between government and the citizenry.”
He said that, Israel, which Lagos State had decided to partner with in developing water technology and environmental control, was one of the first countries to successfully overcome its limitations in water resources, stressing that government’s intention was to explore a wide array of technological advancements and possibilities to ensure that it obtained the best solution to a rather nagging problem.
“WATEC is a regular conference hosted by Israel and it is our hope that as a State, we will be present at the forthcoming WATEC conference in Israel later in the year to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies in the industry,” he said.
Ambode noted that the incidence of flooding was not circumscribed to Nigeria alone, nor was it a peculiarity of the Third World, adding that “we may wish to recall that the United Kingdom was heavily flooded this year and, indeed, witnessed some of its worst flooding since records started in 1901.”
“Japan, a country that is equally technologically savvy has also not been spared heavy flooding this year. No matter how well a society may be prepared, we can never rule out the element of the natural or if you like, the supernatural. This is why Lagos State, and indeed Nigeria fully subscribes to the tenets of Climate Change Solutions by the United Nations.
“While all the aforementioned examples enjoin us to put our experience and pains into perspective, they also impress on us as a state and a government that we must learn from all these examples in order to better prepare for the future. To that extent, we will reinvigorate our campaign against the dumping of refuse by citizens into canals. We will be stronger in enforcing our physical planning laws especially those building illegally on canals and blocking the free flow of water across the state,” he explained.
Ambode said that no matter how much a government might try, if its citizens did not do their part, the efforts would amount to futility, saying that if residents of the state desired a new-look Lagos that would be globally competitive, they must bear new attitude towards civic obligations at all times.
He called on all stakeholders in the water and environment sectors, to join hands with the government in order to find a lasting solution to the problem of water shortages and flooding in Lagos.
Also, the State’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Engr Ade Adesanya said the torrential rainfall witnessed in the State in the past few days accumulated a total of 477mm of water, which was equivalent to the rainfall experienced in other climes for six months, and that the successful management of the situation was commendable, while expressing the determination of the government to mitigate the impact of such in future.
On his part, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Guy Feldman said his country was delighted to partner with the Lagos State Government to bring about lasting solutions to water management and environmental control.