To anyone that relocates from Mainland part of Lagos to the Island, another part of Lagos that is regarded as an eyebrow area where ultra-high-net-worth individuals live, to them, it is like travelling to Europe from Africa seeking new ways of life. With joy and enthusiasm, they are proud to tell their family members and friends that they have relocated the Island.
For a typical “Lagosian”, living in Lekki means you are wealthy, it means you live in comfort where there is nothing but “abundant life”.
For Ademola Okemuyiwa, an accountant that relocated to Lekki with his newly wedded wife in December, 2017 due to change of job that prompted him to relocate, living in Lekki is what he described as his big dream that has come through.
“For a long time, I have dreamed to live in this part of the state due to the class of people that live here. Though some of my friends influenced me to live here, but I have also desired to live in Lekki,” Okemuyiwa said.
But reality dawn on Okemuyiwa six months after relocating to his house on Ado Road, Ajah with his wife, the yearly ritual heavy flood that lasted for more than almost three days had almost submerged his house that he could not take anything from his house but to relocate to another family’s resident in Mainland within that short period.
Also narrating his own ordeal during that period, Chima Ndubusi, a real estate agent that lives in Ajah but has his office in Lekki revealed that his house was not affected at that period, but his office was adversely affected that he could not come to his office at that time with other offices around that area because of the heavy flood.
The rain that got many parts of the Island submerged by the flood swept some debris in the area path, causing some drains and drainage channels blocked in Lekki Phase II, Osapa London, Victoria Garden City, Ikoyi, Banana Island, Badore, Bugije, Igbo Efon and Awoyaya.
Lagos State Government through the Commission for Environment in the State Dr. Babatunde Adejare when speaking to the journalists during that period said that the decision became necessary to enhance the ability of the drainage channels to effectively discharge storm water into the rivers, lagoon and other water bodies and relieve Lagosians of the incidence of flood.
With flood in Lagos becoming annual ceremony, its primary caused has been attached to different factors. Parts of which include rise in global temperature that got the ocean warm.
According to a Climate Change advocate, Rotimi Fasan, he said that when water heats up, it expands and leading to rise in sea levels as we have been witnessing in several countries in recent times.Another factor that has been believed to be the major cause of the flood is the dredging of different multi-billion dollar projects in the area. The Eko Atlantic City and some other projects are elephant projects that have required dredging of the Lagoon and the ocean.
In an effort to stop the construction of the multi-billion project two years ago, a non-governmental organisation of lawyers and Law professionals that engage in promotion and protection of human rights, rule of law and good governance in Nigeria, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) approached the federal high court in Lagos asking for an end to the ongoing Eko Atlantic City project and dredging of other parts of the ocean.
The National Coordinator of the organisation, Chino Obiagwu said that the dredging of the ocean and construction of buildings on the reclaimed land under the Eko Atlantic City will not only flood the coastal areas in coming years, but also destroy aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters of the ocean that fishes and animals which will negatively affect the rich ecosystem of the ocean, the Lagoon and adjourning rivers, swamps and wetland of the country.
“Court should stop the project because of its destructive impact on the aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters and the environment of the coastal communities including Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula and several fishing settlements on the west coast of the ocean,” he said.
“The lagoon is swollen up, there is high tide, so it would lock on our outfalls, the water would not recede or go into the lagoon as fast as it used to be. So that’s one of the main reasons why we are having flooding all over the place; and coupled with our own man made problems such as people blocking the drainage channels, people even building on drainage channels, that’s what has also been causing all these problems,” he said.
On how the incessant flood affected business activities in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ajah and other vicinities of the areas where offices of telecommunication companies, banks and other multinational companies are located, many business owners lamented the damage the rain caused to their business affairs.
Despite billion of dollar that is being owned in properties, everybody seems to be living their own shell with no solution coming to solve the imminent challenge in the areas. Things got bad that every other thing come to stand still. Anytime there is a major downpour, everything in areas comes to a standstill.