Friday, August 9, 2013

Lagos In Trouble

Lagos has again come under threat of serious flooding following the alarm that the violent tidal waves are on the increase across the coastal areas.As a result of this, Lagosians who reside near the beaches have been warned to vacate their home to prevent the recurrence of ocean surge disaster, which claimed 15 lives last year.

Lekki, Alpha and Elegushi beaches and their environs have already been declared danger zones for residents and fun seekers due to severe tidal and violent waves.

The tidal waves had last year levelled the Kuramo Beach and swept away fun seekers, fishermen and people occupying illegal shanties at the beach front.

National Mirror gathered that the surge, which occurred about 3:30a.m. yesterday and lasted till 6a.m. had encroached at least 800metres inland around Jakande Estate in Lekki.

An official of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed the incident, saying the agency had been on ground to sensitise people to leave the affected areas.

He said: “We thank God nobody died so far but the tide is rising. There is likelihood that if people don’t stay away from the place, it may have devastating effect on those around.

“They should heed warnings and stay away from the place particularly tourists who may come to the beach ocean during festive seasons. So, tourists are urged to stay away for now until they are assured the tide has gone down.

“For now, those residing along the shore should stay off. Those who are close to the sea can confirm that there are times the tidal waves are on the increase but the truth is that scientifically, things are changing due to climate change and other environmental factors.

“Those who live at Lekki, Alpha and Elugushi beaches and their environs should vacate the area now because of the likely surge which could lead to severe flooding.”

Some environmental activists, however, blamed the incident on the abandoned shipwrecks in the ocean, while others said that the Eko Atlantic Project could be the major cause of the yearly surge.

The former Executive Director of Environmental Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Mr. Inimmo Bassey, had criticised the multi-billion dollar project, saying the project lacked popular, transparent and approved environmental impact assessment and might not withstand the impact of the global warming due to rise in the sea level.

Bassey noted that Nigeria, as a coastal nation, is vulnerable to global warming impact, saying if the ocean rises one or two metre above the current level, the entire project will be a waste.

He had said: “So, basically, because the coastline is vulnerable, we do know that global warming is not a myth, it is a thing that is happening now.

“So, expanding the city into the ocean is causing danger, it is wasteful investment and may not portend any return of investment to those who are putting their money there.

“We should be looking for alternative way of investment. They should be an alternative location.

“If people want to do that kind of projects, they will always have argument that sound reasonable, don’t forget that when the oil companies first came to Nigeria, they said they could drill without causing oil spillage. But here we are talking of sea level rise.”

LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Olufemi Oke- Osanyintolu, attributed accidents and disasters during festive periods to nonchalant attitude and carelessness of people during celebrations, urging parents to warned their kids venture to play at dangerous places.

Osanyintolu, however, assured that LASEMA, the Lagos State Fire and Safety Service, the Lagos State Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, and other agencies involved in the management of emergencies in the state had been put on red alert to secure and protect the lives and properties of residents in the state.

The general manager also warned people who are in the habit of sending false alarm to the emergency call centre and through the social networks, thereby creating panic and unnecessary tension, to desist from doing so.

Recently, the Lagos State Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr. Adesegun Oniru, had said that the state would require N440 billion to protect its shoreline, covering 87 kilometres, from coastal erosion and degradation.

Speaking at the 2013 Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, the commissioner had hinted that the erosion of Lagos’ shoreline degenerated as a result of over 200 abandoned vessels/ shipwrecks littering the coastline, stressing that efforts to persuade federal agency in charge to remove them had not been successful.

The abandoned vessels, he noted, posed a great danger to the shoreline and marine environment.

Oniru, revealed that the state government had spent over N38 billion on the restoration of its shoreline damaged by coastal erosion occasioned by frequent ocean surge.

He said the restoration work, which started from the back of Eko Atlantic City project to Alpha Beach, covered seven kilometres stretch of the shoreline.

Despite the fact that the shoreline being ravaged by coastal erosion is the boundary of Nigeria, the commissioner said that the Federal Government had been passive in finding solution to the problem.

Oniru said: “The Federal Government has not contributed anything to help the state government to solve the problem.

“President Goodluck Jonathan was at the scene of coastal erosion of Alpha Beach two years ago and promised to help the state government to solve the problem. Up till now, we are still expecting the promise to be fulfilled.”

He explained that without the Eko Atlantic City project, the whole of Victoria Island and Ikoyi would have been swept away by the ocean surge.

The commissioner recalled how wild storm from the Atlantic Ocean, as a result of rise in sea level, ravaged the Bar Beach in 2006 and how the state government came to rescue.

He said: “We all saw what happened at Kuramo Beach last year; strong waves from the ocean swept away people and their makeshifts. We don’t want a repeat of this and that is why the state government is passionate about finding permanent solution to ocean surge of the entire area.”

Oniru suggested ways to combat problems of erosion of the shoreline, including the use of sand saver, sand reclamation, sea wall, X-blocks, sand bags, floodgate and groynes (barrier) protection.

He said the method adopted by the state government to solve the Bar Beach erosion was the use of groynes