As heavy rainfall intensifies, leading to flash floods in some parts, Lagos State Government on Tuesday renewed its warning to owners of all structures on drainage alignments and setbacks to relocate to higher grounds.

A statement released by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, said many of such buildings have already been marked in Mende, Maryland and Aboru in Alimosho for infringing on drainage alignments and may soon be demolished.

The Commissioner found it regrettable that after several warnings, the residents of those areas have refused to move but would rather resort to cheap blackmail of having nowhere to relocate.

Bello, who spoke against the background of a viral video of some people being rescued in Mende, emphasised that the area is a low-lying flood plain while the broadcast affirmed that the Office of Drainage services had marked all the buildings. He noted that the location is the drainage route for all the water coming from Agindigbi, Oregun, Opebi, Allen, GRA, Maryland up to Ogudu Foreshore.

“It is time for the residents of all such areas in the State to hearken to the voice of reason by relocating to safeguard lives and property”, Bello said.

While pleading for calm from all residents, he stated that the drainages have the capacity to contain water runoff when the rain stops just as it is happening already.

Bello said the heavy torrential rainfall which started in the early hours of Monday and still continued on Tuesday afternoon has caused flash floods in many areas.

“Residents are assured that within four hours after the rainfall ceases, the water level of the lagoon will go down because the flood will flow into the major collectors to enable the water on the roads and streets to recede”, the Commissioner explained.

Emphasising that Lagos is a coastal city with over one-third of its land mass under water, Bello said part of the proactive measures embraced by the State is the all-year-round cleaning, clearing and outright construction of drainage channels that have increased their capacity to contain water and silt.

He pointed out that the measures have helped in mitigating the effects of flash floods on lives and property, stating that men of the quick rapid response drainage team named Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) have continued to clean dark spots and free manholes across all primary, secondary and tertiary drains.

According to him, going by the rainfall projections advisory issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Services NIMET early in the year, Lagos was projected to experience moderate flooding this year.

Bello reiterated the dangers inherent in people wading through floods, especially with high currents during rainfalls, warning that people and vehicles could be swept away in such situations.

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