Despite fears of heavy rain predictions for the year, the Lagos State Government has assured real estate practitioners and property investors that the impact on the sector would be low compared to previous experiences.
The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage Services and Water Resources, Mr. Joe Igbokwe gave the assurance at a web seminar hosted by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, (NIESV), Lagos branch. Entitled, ‘2020 rainfall forecast: Impact on real estate and the environment’, the session attracted about 300 participants who are practitioners across the sectors of the built environment including experts like, Mr. Osato Osawaye and Kevin Ofili
Igbokwe said although the flood would come, it will disappear fast because of the massive work the state government was doing, which hasn’t been done in the recent past four years.
With the increase in heavy rainfall globally, and the impact on the Lagoon, the Atlantic Ocean, and River, Nigeria is not exempted from the effects of global warming and an increase in water levels. There have been forecast that the 2020 rainfall maybe a little bit higher than previous experiences and Lagos as a coastal city has a direct impact from the increase in water levels, hence professionals in the built sector needs to know how to grapple with the possible challenge that it may pose.
The Special Adviser said: “The state government is aware of the forecast and therefore working hard dealing with the tertiary canals, primary drains and secondary water channels. We are working on 30 biggest channels in Lagos, completed 12 that will discharge water into the Lagoon. For the secondary channels, which are 222, we have completed 42 and others are ongoing. The office of drainage was non-existence from 2015 to 2019.”
“ Lagos is a coastal area but we are having issues with some people building on the channels, and building so close to the setbacks. We have created an artificial dam to pump water into the Lagoon. We have identified areas that are prone to flood; all we need to do is to open up the drain.
“We are educating those living in locations like the low line areas to take up the responsibility of cleaning of the channels because it is a collective work between the government and the people. People shouldn’t build on the setbacks, and shouldn’t throw refuse into the drains. Plastics and refuse are the biggest problems we have”.
NIESV Chairman, Lagos Branch, Mr. Adedotun Bamigbola said from the predictions of the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET), the nation is expected to have between 240, and 270 days of rainfall out of 366 days of 2020 stressing that it becomes critical to look at the likely impact on the real estate practitioners and the need for education of residents of Lagos.
According to him, educating the real estate investors, house owners and occupiers on challenges they might face was important going by the hugely past experience of floods on lives and properties. He said NIESV, therefore, deem it a necessity to deliberate with Lagos ministry on ways to form partnerships and mitigate a reoccurrence.
Contributing, the Permanent Secretary, Drainage Services and Water Resources, Nurudeen Shodeinde said the government has in place a flood map that signifies locations that are prone to flooding in the entire state and that there is a master plan that has identified the areas and the necessary solution to prevent some of the flooding situations.
He said the government expects investors in the built sector to apply for drainage clearance and what they need to do if they must invest in certain locations.
“We will request the kind of drainage infrastructure that needs to be put in place, setbacks to provide for existing channels, a minimum height of reclamation for low land area and other kinds of engineering interventions that need to be in place and how to protect the ecosystem. Government still relies on NIMET for a weather forecast. Government is in the process of having some weather stations in the state to afford it the opportunity of giving daily weather forecasts to residents.
He stated that there is flooding challenge in Lagos and advised residents that, “If you know you are living in a low line area like Island, and with the sea rise, people need to start thinking how it will affect their house and what they need to do to mitigate it because it affects everybody.”