Following the incident of flood that ravaged some highbrow areas of Lagos State, some residents have begun to make arrangements to vacate their multi-million naira houses in the affected neighbourhoods to take shelter in the mainland parts of the state. Residents of affluent neighbourhoods such as Lekki, Ajah, Banana Island, Victoria Island, Victoria Garden City, Ikoyi and others, last Sunday woke up and found their property submerged in flood, following the downpour from the heavy rain that fell throughout the night. The incident, which has attracted international attention to the nation’s mega city, is believed to have generated mixed reactions from the residents, who spent huge sums of money to acquire property in the highbrow areas.
A visit by our correspondents to some of the affected areas revealed that inspite of the state government’s efforts to evacuate the flood and prevent future occurrence, some of the residents were already taking steps to relocate from the area to the Mainland. It was learnt that some of the residents of the Island, who were seriously affected by the flood incident at Ajah, had begun preparations to move to the outskirts, including the neighbouring Ogun State. A resident of Badore, Ajah, Bunmi Akindele, while lamenting the current situation in the area, said she was relocating her family to Akute in Ogun State as they could no longer wait for a repeat of the flood incident. “With this flood, there is no going back on my husband’s decision to move our family back to our former area. We came to this area last year, when he got a new job in this area. He wanted us to stay in Akute area before while he comes home every weekend, but when I persuaded him, he decided to move the entire family here, and we spent almost all our savings because rent here is three times more than what we were paying for three bedroom flat at Akute. He was already thinking of moving us back due to the early rains this year. But with this massive flood, he told me categorically that we’ll be moving out of this place as soon as possible” she said. Akindele also said her family could not go out last Saturday and Sunday due to the flood in her area. Apparently angered by the damage caused by the flood to property in the area, another resident, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that he was already considering selling his house located in the Ajah axis. The resident, who claimed to be a businessman, said his family could no longer cope with the trauma caused them by the yearly flood. “I think it’s better for me and my family to move to the Mainland, may be a place like Ikeja or Maryland. Ever since I bought this property, this flood thing has become a recurring decimal and we can no longer endure the trauma,” he said. Corroborating him, Mr. Kazeem Lawal, who resides in Lekki Phase 1, told our correspondent that he was aware of plans by some families in the area to dispose their property and relocate to other parts of the state. “I know of some of my neighbours here, who are already making efforts to sell their houses and move to elsewhere due to the yearly flooding that occur in this area. The situation here is terrible and many people can no longer endure it,” Lawal said. Another resident of Awoyaya area of Ajah, Adelodun Bayo, said his family members were unable to leave the house for more than two days due to the flood. “My family has been trapped in the house for more than two days. As at yesterday, I was the only one who could leave the house for work as the flood barely subsided. All the residents in this area have since been battling with the cleaning of drainages so that the flood can go. It is really a terrible situation. Several areas such as Awoyaya, Mayfare, Elemoro, Bogije are still flooded, as I speak with you,” Bayo said. Our correspondent also observed that the flood in the area had resulted in an increase in the fare charged by commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators plying the routes. It was learnt that NAPEP tricycle riders, who were charging N50 per head before the incident, now charge N100. Similarly, commercial motorcycle riders now charge N200 against N100 they used to collect as fare. Meanwhile, at Lekki Phase 1, efforts were being made to evacuate the flood, which had caused a major traffic jam on the express road since Saturday morning. Our correspondent observed workers of the Lagos State Highway Mangers evacuating the water on the road while officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency were busy controlling traffic. At Admiralty Avenue in Lekki Phase 1 and Freedom Road, Ikate Lekki, efforts by the residents and government seemed to have paid off as the flood on the road has subsided. Some of the residents, who spoke with our correspondent at Admiralty Avenue, however, expressed disappointment with the Lagos State Government over the situation, which has rendered many people homeless. A resident, Mr. Tony Anene, said, “I can say I have never had such an experience like this in Lagos State. I hope you see the pictures around on social media and the like. Most of the cars in this area were swimming in water. There were some houses that were submerged. It was very pathetic. I just hope the state government has learnt some lessons from this. The development of state is not about building projects alone, but about also good environmental planning. We need good drainage to help us in times like this in Lekki.” At Lekki County Estate, our correspondent observed that some of the streets in the estate were still covered by the flood as at Wednesday, leaving the residents with no other option that to trek and wade through it. “As you can see, we have a big problem in this area. It is only God that can help us because I don’t see government doing everything. Look at water everywhere, days after the major flood. Many people cannot take their cars home for days now because of the flood, despite working on the drainage system. I think this area is an issue on its own”, Holly, a resident lamented.