Foundation wants holistic approach on flood mitigation


The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has appealed to Lagos State Government to regulate sand filling and sustain efforts at curtailing ocean currents.

The NCF Director, Technical Programmes, Dr Joseph Onoja, also urged the state residents to clean up drains and avoid indiscriminate refuse disposal to avert flooding.

Onoja said such measures would prevent flood disasters.

The director equally called on the Federal Government to release Ecological Funds to states to help them to plan against erosion.

He added that flooding was a huge challenge in Lagos because of its coastal areas; hence, the need to constantly adopt preventive measures.

“If waste management is not properly done, we clog a lot of drains, and water will always find its level,’’ he said.

He decried alleged unregulated sand filling in some parts of the state which, according to him, compounds the problem of flooding.

“As a long term solution, people should stop indiscriminate sand filling of wetland, and as a short term measure, people should properly dispose of their wastes and clean their clogged drains,’’ he said.

He called on the Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development to regulate sand filling activities in the state.

“I am sure there are laws which must be enforced; if there are no laws, then, the government needs to bring up laws that will be able to regulate sand filling.

“Proper Environmental Impact Assessment should be done and then measures should be put in place to ensure that the impacts of such sand fillings are already mitigated against,’’ he said.

Onoja hailed the state government’s continuous construction of groins to fight a turbulent eastward ocean current threatening the Lekki axis.

He, however, called for sustained construction of those groins as well as engagement of experts to arrest the ocean tides and avert flooding.

He said that ocean surge was threatening some Lagos communities, including Lafiaji and Okun Afa.

“We need to sit down as all experts to look at the solutions to ocean tides so that we do not avert a problem in one place and push it down elsewhere.

“Lagos State Government should continue with the groins and bring experts together to look at the problem holistically while the Federal Government should intervene because the problem is not only in Lagos.

“It is affecting almost all the coastal areas. If you go to Ondo State, in Aiyetoro, a lot of communities are being sacked,’’ he said.

He added that the NCF was also being threatened by sand filling and erosion, and called for sustained efforts to reverse it.

“We (NCF) are very close to the ocean – about 1,200 metres away from the ocean – so if it continues at the rate it is going, eastward erosion will eat up the beach head.

“Once it erodes the beach head, then flood water would flow inwards freely,’’ he said.

Onoja said that NCF had been appealing to the Federal Government to release ecological funds to states.

He expressed the optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari would address the issue in his second term.