Lagos flooding: Be wary of using emerging environmental terms without proper verification, don advises

The Director of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Emmanuel Ofoezie, has advised concerned authorities to be wary of using emerging environmental terms without proper verification.

The don said that it is common for officials “to key into international discourse with no data to back up their local assumptions.”

Last Friday, the authorities in Lagos State issued a statement regarding the spate of flooding in the state. The statement was to alert residents to “the rise of sea water level resulting in the inability of the lagoon to discharge water into the ocean causing backflow into the drainage channels.”

In the statement credited to the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, he explained that “the rise in sea level has contributed to current flooding in many parts of Ikoyi, VI, Dolphin and Oworonshoki because the lagoon can not discharge and is causing back flow  into drainage outlets.”

Bello said, “Until the ocean level goes down, the lagoon cannot discharge water into the ocean and causing backflow into all the drainage outlets in the state.”

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In his reaction, Professor Ofoezie said it was “necessary to ascertain if there were data on what the sea level was prior to this flooding or at any time for that matter.”

The director of the Institute which midwifed the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), now known as National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), said: “Advocates of climate change believe that melting of ice at the poles may cause abnormal sea level rise but that cannot explain local flooding in the tropics. Nigeria is experiencing extreme weather events this year and this can worsen flooding events in poorly drained cities like Lagos. Sometimes, this may coincide with high tides as maybe the case in Lagos.”

The commissioner in his statement assured Lagosians that the government was taking steps to curb flooding, including working on different measures to remove the constriction and blockades that would allow easy passage for the resultant flooding.

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