Against the backdrop of flood which wreaked havoc in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and the Lekki axis last weekend, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode took stock and declared “these are trying times” for the state.
The governor also disclosed his administration is taking immediate steps to find holistic solution to the flooding problem in the state.
Ambode spoke, yesterday, at a Water Technology and Environmental Control (WATEC) sensitisation programme in Lagos.
Last Saturday, motorists on the island reportedly spent up to six hours to escape the water-logged roads and expressway.
Heavy floods took over the entire Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island, Lagos, forcing some residents and commercial offices to unceremoniously vacate their premises.
Lagos State Police Command temporarily closed the road to human and vehicular movements, due to threat by flood.
Ambode said there was even more urgent need to embark upon a review and re-engineering of the canals and drainage systems in the state.
“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, 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,” Ambode said.
The governor added that the government would be stronger in enforcing physical planning laws, especially those building illegally on canals and blocking the free-flow of water across the state. He also added that his administration will reinvigorate its campaign against dumping of refuse into canals.
Ambode said access to and management of water resources, as well as environmental control, remained one of the greatest challenges facing most parts of the developing world.
He said Israel, which Lagos has decided to partner in developing water technology and environmental control, was one of the first countries to successfully overcome its limitations in water resources.
“Our intention is to explore a wide array of technological advancements and possibilities, to ensure we obtain the best solution to a rather nagging problem,” he said. The governor said the incidence of flooding is not circumscribed to Nigeria alone or a peculiarity of the Third World.
Ambode recalled that the United Kingdom was heavily flooded this year and, indeed, witnessed some of its worst flooding since records started in 1901.
He added that Japan, a country that was 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,” the governor said.