Flooding: This Lagos State still does not have a human face

by Alexander O. Onukwue

Every year in the city of Lagos, there is always a flood. Always.

A new Lagos resident is very likely to receive a call around this period from a friend or colleague who used to stay within the city, particularly on the Island, and the enquiry will not be about encounters with agberos or omo ni le, but about flood. It is one of the notorious identifiers for describing Africa’s big apple, and by all counts, it does not appear to be changing any time soon.

While it is sad that successive governments have not done enough to improve on the road and drainage infrastructure in the State to avert the inconveniences of flooding, it is even more sickening that nobody tries to reach out to citizens to provide some verbal consolation when such things happen. The Government collects taxes from the members of the public to build, repair and maintain public utilities, including roads and drainages.

They have not been able to provide these services adequately but will show not empathy with the citizens who have to navigate through the dangers on the dangers of flooded roads. Not even a warning that such will occur, providing advice and guidance on alternative routes that may be less flooded, the Government simply leaves everyone to his own fate.

It is a sad point to think about because Lagos wants to become a member of the 100 Resilient Cities project, joining top mega cities like London, Tokyo, New York and Chicago who run their metropolis like a contract between inhabitants and the Government. As part of the requirements, Lagos will be expected to have a Chief Resilience Officer, but it is hard to understand how a city can be resilient if it does not have basic systems that can take shocks and divert natural inconveniences.

Worse still, how can a city want to be resilient if at times when its people face adversity, it stays silent?

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