‘Rain, rain, go away, come again another day because Lagosians want to … and the rhythm continues; allowing whosever is reciting it to fill in the missing words, depending on the part of the state he/she lives.
As rains gradually return, making most areas of the state flooded, pulling down fences, in some places electric poles, rendering some streets impassible for days and sending street traders off the road, some Lagosians, especially those who live in flood prone areas have begun to entertain fears, as to what would befall them when the rains peak.
To safeguard themselves, some have started to raise fences around their houses, fortify weak areas and clear filled drainage for easy flow of water. It is a known fact that most parts of the state are susceptible to flooding whenever there is a heavy downpour, because according experts the city lays below the sea level.
Past and current governments of the state at different times have enacted laws to punish individuals and organisations whose activities constitute danger to the environment, yet the problem of blockage of drains continues to escalate, spreading to new areas.
For Ibraimoh Makanjuola, a resident of Ketu, the issue is not new. He said, “it is unfortunate that government is paying lip services to the problem by not bringing those whose activities are causing this havoc to book.” According to him, government does not plan ahead of the danger; it waits for it to happen before taking corrective steps, which always come late.
“Even when climatologists warn government ahead of imminent danger, it does not carry out serious work on areas prone to flooding. It should not always wait for the rain to come before clearing the drainage of filth or other impediments that prevent easy flow of water,” he said.
Charlie Abe, Ikeja based computer operator, put the blame on town planners. He noted that some people for the sake of being landlords construct their houses anywhere they get land in the state. Abe observed that some of these lands are waterways and building on them would make rainwater to flow to other areas not used to flooding once there is a heavy downpour. He noted that this could only be stopped if authorities concerned do their work properly because flooding in one part of the state economically affects other parts too.
Apart from this, he called on government to revisit its laws, especially concerning residents that dig and sell sand to make money. According to him, this business is going on underground, yet the perpetrators are unmindful of the dangers of soil degradation and erosion.
For Alhaji Saheed Makinde, a resident in Itire, flooding is a man-made problem. He stressed that the problem would be over once man does the needful and stop blocking waterways.
Makinde added that many people dump their household waste in canals at night. According to him, each time it rains some people would tie their refuse in bags and dump them into the canal. He noted that if residents could refrain from this attitude, Lagos would not experience flooding the way it is currently.
He pointed at canals that run through markets, saying authorities concerned should return to the old system where there is a central dumping ground in the markets to avoid using the canals.
“Visit major markets in the state from Itire to Ikotun, Ketu, Mile 12 and others, one will find that traders either dump their waste in the gutters or the canal. Until agencies concerned begin to think of how to handle domestic waste, canal/gutter blockage will continue to be a recurring issue.
Proffering solution to this perennial problem, Alex Aknibo said there should be periodic, maybe quarterly clearing of canals in Lagos, opening them up for easy flow of water and constantly checking the various markets to make sure their activities are not against the environment.