Lagos moves against flooding, illegal structures to give way
•George blames gov for menace, proffers solution
•Assembly summons commissioner over crisis
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has said the flooding being experienced in a section of the state had challenged his administration to reinvigorate its campaign against dumping of refuse and enforcement of physical planning laws as they relate to illegal structures on drainages.
The governor, who spoke yesterday at the Water Technology and Environmental Control Conference in Ikeja, regretted that his quest to undertake more projects was being retarded by the uninspiring attitude of residents to civic duties, adding that only 600,000 of the over 20 million Lagosians pay tax.
He stated that access to and management of water resources as well as environmental control remain a great challenge facing most developing countries of the world.
His words: “For the past few days, the state, and indeed most parts of Nigeria, have witnessed torrential rainfalls seen our most prime estates flooded with water, we have witnessed our roads taken over by floods, and we have painfully watched how many homesteads have literally become pools.
“These indeed 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.”
The governor said his administration would urgently embark on a review and reengineering of its canals and drainage systems.
He went on: “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.”
On measures to contain the menace, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Samuel Adejare, said a retention pond was being built at Sangotedo area of the state to serve as a reservoir for storm water for onward release into the Okota River after the rains subside.
However, former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has called on the governor to immediate halt the sand-filling of lagoons and the Atlantic Ocean, saying the exercise was instrumental to the crisis at hand.
He made the appeal yesterday at a press conference yesterday in Lagos where the PDP chieftain also urged Ambode to open up the clogged drainages.
Also yesterday, the state House of Assembly asked Adejare and his team of experts to appear before it today to explain efforts his ministry was making to mitigate the menace.
The resolution was taken at plenary after the representative of Eti-Osa 2, Gbolahan Yishawu, moved a motion co-sponsored by 10 others on the crisis.