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10 states battling flooding, 21 others at risk, FG warns

Business and commercial activities were grounded on Wednesday following a 10-hour downpour in many parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

The resulting flooding brought down a two-storey building in the Mushin area of Lagos, grounded vehicular movement on the roads and overwhelmed thousands of residents while pupils could not attend schools in parts of the states.

Though the Lagos State government said the rain lasted for nine hours, in some parts of the state,  it started at midnight and did not subside until noon, making it 12 hours.

Such places include Berger, Ikeja, Ogba and in some parts, the rain lasted for 10 hours.

Our correspondents, who visited some affected flooded areas such as Iyana-Oworo, Agege, Ijegun-Isheri Osun, Gbagada and Lagos Island in Lagos State, observed that roads and houses were flooded as a result of long hours of downpour.

Other flooded places in Lagos include Eredo, Bojije, Epe, Sangotedo, Ibeju-Lekki, Awoyaya, Labora, and Abijon.

The heavy showers, which began around 12am, were blamed for the collapse of a two-storey building on Cameroon Road in the Mushin area of Lagos, injuring seven people.

The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, stated that the seven victims were rescued alive from the collapsed structure.

He attributed the collapse of the newly constructed building to the inclement weather.

He said, “Early this morning, seven people were rescued alive from a building in Ewenla, Mushin, that collapsed in the inclement weather.

“Upon arrival of the LRT at the scene of the incident, it was discovered that a newly constructed two-storey building had collapsed. Three females and four males were rescued alive and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“The agency’s search-and-rescue team had searched the rubbles and can confirm that there is no victim underneath the collapsed building. The area has been cordoned off, and operations are still ongoing.”

Non-essential travels

Due to the unpredictable weather conditions, the LASEMA boss also urged Lagos residents to remain calm and avoid any non-essential travel.

“We are urging the good people of Lagos to remain calm and refrain from any non-essential travel due to the incidence of flash floods across the state,” he added.

Students currently taking exams were affected by the downpour as some schools in White Sand Estate, Isheri-Osun, in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, closed.

The students were advised to stay home due to the hazardous roads.

Flooding in White Sand Estate is a recurring issue, with the area suffering from poor roads, inadequate drainage systems, and a lack of maintenance.

A parent, identified simply as Atinuke, shared a message from the school with our correspondent, praising the school’s management for their “pragmatic” decision.

The message read, “Good morning, dearest parents, trust your night was splendid. Due to the heavy downpour and a predicted serious rainy weather forecast today, we have decided to close the school and postpone today’s exam. As you can see, almost everywhere is flooded.

“As a school, we prioritize the safety of our geniuses above everything else. Consequently, the school bus will also not operate today. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience.”

Atinuke called for the state government’s intervention, lamenting that water had flooded her living room, forcing her to remove the furniture.

She said, “The rain has entered my house again; just look at the environment. This is White Sand Estate in Isheri-Osun.”

The area was flooded, making it impossible for cars and motorcycles to navigate, while the pedestrians faced significant risks as the flooding obscured drainage channels.

The Public Relations Officer of the area’s Community Development, Johnson Olabode, expressed his frustration, stating, “We are at it again this year. Everywhere is filled with water. I have been up since 3am when the rain started, and all I could do was watch my house get flooded. We can’t even start removing the water until the rain stops.”

He added that schools have notified parents to keep their children at home due to the severe conditions.

Meanwhile, some residents have called on the Lagos State government to urgently address this ongoing problem in their community.

A resident, identified as John Adewale, decried that the flooding had become a yearly nightmare for them.

He said, “This has become a yearly nightmare for us. Every time it rains heavily, we know our homes will be flooded. We’ve been pleading with the government for better drainage systems, but nothing seems to be happening. We’re stuck inside with water everywhere.”

Major roads such as Majek, Abraham Adesanya, and Awoyaya-Sangotedo were also impacted, with ongoing road construction further worsening the situation.

Commercial vehicles and motorcycles seized the opportunity to hike transport fares.

A resident, Anuoluwapo Atanda, in the Pen Cinema, Agege area of Lagos, said that the flood affected her house due to the blocked drainage in her area.

She revealed that it also impacted all the houses on her street and the adjacent one.

Atanda said, “Flooding is an issue here because residents refuse to clean their drainage systems. The main reason for the flood is the dirty and congested drainage filled with waste.

“The government is trying to create a larger drainage system on the link road to my street, but the work has been slow and rough. I think this season is not the right time to do it.

“They just dug the drainage, but water is not flowing in it because it hasn’t been completed. Once the water in the gutter fills up, it flows into the road and people’s houses.

“Traffic has been terrible because of the flood. Drivers are being careful so they don’t sink with their vehicles, as it is difficult to identify potholes and gutters when everywhere is flooded. It took me about 45 minutes to get to Oshodi from Agege; everywhere is messed up.”

A resident on who goes by the name, Chu Osakwe, stated, “This is Gbagada to 7up inward 3MB. Stay home if you have no business on the island. #Traffic.’’

“If your route this morning is mainland to the island via 3MB, just forget it. Turn back home or reroute. I just passed by on the opposite side, and the beginning of the Third Mainland (Iyana woro?) is flooded to the car doors. I’ve never seen that on the bridge before,” another X user wrote on Wednesday.

“Please let me adjust my advice. If you live in Lagos, do not even consider coming out of your house today. Everywhere is flooded. I didn’t expect it to be this bad on the mainland. Flooded, and all the roads are blocked in any direction,” the resident added.

Our correspondent who visited Ikeja observed stranded commuters forced to find shelter, while others stood by the roadside waiting for commercial buses to take them to their destinations.

The PUNCH also noted that some commercial buses refused to pick up passengers travelling from Ogba to Ikeja due to the flood and traffic gridlock.

Additionally, broken-down vehicles further compounded the plight of motorists.

A driver identified as Tunji blamed the flooding on the poor drainage system in Ikeja.

He said, “The drainage system in Ikeja is inadequate; there’s nowhere for the water to flow, so it stays in one place, damaging cars and other properties.

“The demand for buses is greater than the supply due to the rain. That is why we don’t have vehicles ready to go to Ikeja. The supply went down because of the flood and gridlock. It is a sad thing, but what can we do?

‘’We can’t force them to spoil their vehicles just because we want to get to work. It is not fair.”

Fare hike

The PUNCH also observed that commercial bus drivers and tricycle riders increased the transport fare from the usual N300 to N700 for trips from Ogba to Ikeja.

A 54-second viral video showed hoodlums extorting residents, demanding a N100 levy before allowing them to access an alternate route under the Trade Fair bridge in the Ojo area, following the flood that submerged much of the area.

Some individuals were arrested by officials of the Lagos State Government for allegedly extorting the residents.

“This is the Trade fair under-bridge; pay N100 before you can take the passage. And we have a president in this country. Look at their faces,” a woman’s voice in a video clip said.

The Commissioner for Environment, Tokunbo Wahab, stated on his handle that the miscreants had been arrested by the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps and assured that they would be prosecuted accordingly.

He wrote, “Following a complaint made by @ARISE0214, miscreants charging people for using the makeshift crossover bridge at Trade fair this morning (Wednesday) have been arrested by the operatives of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, @LAGESCOfficial. They will be prosecuted according to the law.”

Devastating floods also struck several communities in Ogun State, including Sango-Ota, Alagbado, Atan, Oju-ore, and Lusada, submerging them.

Residents attributed the flooding to blocked waterways caused by indiscriminate waste dumping and construction on drainage rights-of-way.

Abayomi Rufai, a resident of Atan-Ota, reported that his properties worth several millions of naira were damaged by the rainfall.

He blamed the flooding on improper drainage channeling and construction on drainage rights-of-way in his community.

He lamented, “Currently, I can’t access my house. I have to rely on commercial motorcycles because the road leading to my house is currently cut off from the major road due to the flood. Governor Dapo Abiodun should come to our aid before it is too late.”

Victoria Ojelana, a resident of Oregun in the Ijebu-Ode area, told our correspondent that her entire apartment was flooded, destroying some household items.

She explained, “I was sleeping only for me to wake up and see everywhere flooded. The flood was very bad; it entered our house, our kitchen, and even our neighbour’s house.

“There is a neighbour of ours that, even with the fence, the flood broke down the fence, entered their room, and they had to run out of the house. They waited for three to four hours so that the water could reduce. The water is not flowing, it is just stagnant.”

In response to the situation, the Lagos State Government has called for calm.

Non-stop rain

A statement signed by the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Wahab, explained that Lagos experienced about nine hours of non-stop rainfall since the early hours of Wednesday.

He added that this was coupled with heavy rainfall which the state had been experiencing daily since last week resulting in the level rise of the Lagos lagoon.

Wahab explained that the flash floods which inundated areas like Iyana Oworo linking the Third Mainland and several other areas would recede once the rains abated.

The commissioner added that the state had also deployed officials of the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang to major black spots, including Iyana Oworo, which has been cleared of all blockages.

He urged “All those in low-lying areas, to as a matter of necessity,  relocate to higher grounds at this period to safeguard lives and properties.”

He also admonished residents to desist from wading through floods with their vehicles as they could be swept away, irrespective of the number of occupants.

The commissioner equally advised residents to avail themselves of daily weather reports issued by the State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources as it serves as a guide to daily itineraries.

Ogun State was also affected by the rainfall with places like Iperu, Governor Dapo Abiodun’s home town, Oju Ore, Joju bus stop along the Abeokuta-Sango Ota Expressway and Sango-Ota under-bridge impacted by flooding.

A Sango-Ota resident, Mrs Adijat Ahmed, stated, “I  observed slight flooding around Joju bus stop, Oju Ore and Sango-Ota under-bridge and this I think is as a result of the rain but it is however nothing so threatening. It is the usual thing during rainy season like this.”

Mr Moses Ayinla also confirmed that there was slight flooding on Iperu-Ilisan Road.

“There was slight flooding on Ilisan-Iperu road due to the downpour but this is not new; the road has always been flooded whenever there is heavy rain, though, the water will later flow away after some hours.

“The problem of that place is drainage and there was a time the government actually worked on the spot but the problem is back, so we plead with Gov Dapo Abiodun to provide the final solution to this problem,” he said.

Owolabi Babalola, a resident of Wawa located just before the long bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway,  said that there was no incident of flooding in the area.

Babalola noted, “The rain is a bit much here too but there is nothing like flooding, even on the long bridge. I just came back home, I never experienced anything of such on the road.

“Though sometimes the place is flooded as a result of excessive rainfall but I didn’t see anything of such when going to work and coming back this evening; probably, it has receded.

“The problem we usually have here in Wawa is not the rain but when the dam is overflowed and it is now opened to empty the water; that is when we used to have issues. We plead for more government support and collaboration to ensure that this challenge becomes a thing of the past.”

Ogun allays fears

The Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Ola Oresanya, assured worried residents, stating that there was nothing to fret about.

“Just like we have stated in our flood alert issued to members of the public in April, the NIMET has said that between July 3rd to 13th, there will be flash flooding in some parts of the state because the rain would have been reaching its peak.

“The flood will appear when there is a downpour and disappear hours later. If you go back to where there have been reports of flooding in the morning, the water would have gone by now; it is a natural occurrence.

“The residents only have to be careful and ensure that they only go out when it is necessary. We should also ensure that we work on our drainages just like the state government has done to ensure there is a free flow of water,’’ he advised.

Benin, the Edo State capital, experienced slight flooding during Wednesday’s downpour.

Vehicular movement was disrupted in places like Commercial Avenue, Reservation Road, Ikpopan, Aghobasiwin, Ihama and Adesua Road, all in the Government Reservation Area, due to flooding.

The road by the Prestige Hotel on Ihama Road and Aghobasiwin Street was rendered impassable.

However, vehicles were seen moving at a slow pace at Ikpopan, Reservation Road and Commercial Road close to the Government House and Nigeria Army, 4 Brigade.

Two residents, Blessing and Ife, attributed the situation to a lack of drainages in the GRA.

Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, witnessed light rain showers for less than half an hour on Wednesday.

Although it was not accompanied by thunderstorms or flooding, it disrupted commercial and other activities in the capital city.

An Okada rider identified himself simply as Raymond, who alongside his colleagues, took shelter under the Fajuyi – Ojumose Flyover Bridge, said, “These light showers, as you can see, have disrupted many things. For me, the rains have affected what I will make. I am sure the rains will affect how people will come out because the weather is cold, very cold.”

A commuter, Bola Olugbemi, said, “The brief rainfall has disrupted many things. Traders, mostly those who displayed wares in open spaces and hawkers at the popular Oja Bisi and Oja Markets as well as in the capital city ran for shelter from the rains. Things will not remain the same throughout the day again.”

Residents of Akure were also impacted by the torrential rain which slowed down economic and social activities in the Ondo state capital and other communities.

It was learnt that many state workers reported late for work and some shop owners could not open for business.

However, there was no report of flooding across the state.

In Anambra State, residents were not spared as parts of the state were flooded by the rains that started at about 2pm on Wednesday.

Particularly affected was Neni community in the Anaocha Local Government Area of the state with several roads and homes submerged.

Vehicular movement was disrupted in places like Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the state.

Motorists and commuters experienced severe gridlock on the Onitsha-Owerri Road.

The jam on the ever-busy road stretched from the Upper Iweka to the Enamel area of the road.

The situation was worsened by some naval ratings manning a checkpoint at Enamel. They were observed extorting motorists plying the road.

They collected amounts ranging from N100 from tricycle operators, N200 from shuttle bus drivers and N500 and N1,000 from truck drivers.

They blocked a part of the road to carry out their illegal act.

The ratings were also seen flogging motorists who refused to part with money.

Many people were forced to trek for a long distance following the traffic situation on the Onitsha-Owerri Road.

A road user, who gave her name as Ifeoma Okeke, said, “This Onitsha-Owerri Road is a critical road for us in the South-East and naval officers have continued to make life unbearable for motorists on the road.

“Despite the gridlock they have caused with their checkpoint, we also suffer from extortion. Look at the way they have blocked more than half of the two-lane road in the name of a checkpoint and are using it to extort us.”

In Awka, the state capital, vehicles were forced to move at a slow pace due to the flooding on the Awka-Enugu Expressway.

Residents blamed blocked drainages in the area for the flooding.

Source: Punch Newspapers


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