Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


In Lagos-Water Has Become The Enemy – Blame Humans For It— By Rilwan Balogun

When it rains in Lagos, it pours.

Africa’s most populous city is home to all. Rich in diversity, culture and essence, Lagos is arguably one of the biggest economies on the continent.

Although Nigeria’s smallest state by land mass, Lagos feeds on and breathes water. The popular saying ‘Èkó Arómisá Lègbelègbe’ points to the strength of the metropolis in waters. Sadly, despite an income that trumps every state in Nigeria and most African countries’, and a bustling, youthful, formal and informal economy, Lagos’ chains are as strong as its weakest link.

What makes Lagos a wonderful site also makes it a worrisome destination. The waves and peace of the beaches are only as beautiful as the zephyrs that blow, as when it rains in Lagos, chaos reigns.

Wet Wednesday, HR and a Flood Cruise

Wednesday, the 3rd of July saw a heavy downpour in Lagos and it left many workers stuck at home. On social media, especially Twitter, now X where Nigerians extremely have fun, young people and some more elderly ones feasted on the events of the day. Various tweeters posted possible emails they could have sent to their HR. While they were mostly funny to read, they were an embarrassment to a city, perhaps the only one which has enjoyed political stability in Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

Lagos’ infrastructural deficits are enormous, yet its urbanisation grows at an electrifying pace. What has become one of its biggest selling points also exposes its weakest points. The Lagos State government has one of the most responsive crisis management agencies in Nigeria but billions of Naira would have been saved if the state chose to be proactive rather than reactive.

As it rained on Wednesday, the city’s inhabitants were left to struggle through their daily lives with various parts of the state getting flooded, leaving properties floundering and humans only fighting to avoid floating. For some Lagosians, that was a moment for business as they became human carts and mounted people on their backs to cross roads and bridges. Miscreants in some parts of the state also took governance into their hands to collect tolls for pedestrian bridges. It’s full-blown chaos when it rains in Lagos, yet it didn’t start today.

Water, E No Get Enemy: Well!

Fela is not wrong. Water does not have enemy and we all know why, but do Lagosians feel the same way when it rains? As those heavy downpours descend on Lagos grounds, the city sinks. However, the city’s troubles is no fault of the rains. Water, therefore, is not the enemy, humans are, and this is why.

Lagos’ floods are borne of various faults including human-induced natural causes. In the past 50 years, 84% of the city’s shorelines have been washed away and that comes from many activities including the growing sand mining trade which is used for construction purposes; and the city’s flying extractive industry.

The real estate sector in Lagos is a trillion Naira industry and it contributes immensely to the state government’s purse, however it also contributes to the loss of Lagos’ one-time beautiful ecosystem and the sustenance of its natural state. It does not do this alone, the average Lagosian is a major contributor to Lagos’ troubles. Many households in the city have a poor attitude to waste management and this sees the drainages filled with household wastes that block waterways and leaves motorways and homes in pools. The poor and the rich suffer from the sins of the poor and the rich, but the poor suffer the most.

According to research by the United Nations University, Lagos loses $4bn every year to flooding in terms of economic losses, public health problems and infrastructural damage. Nearly 100,000 Lagosians are also affected by these flooding issues with many more pointing to losses in work hours due to blocked roads and flooded vehicles.

Climate change and rising sea levels have also become another great factor leading to flooding in Lagos. The washed shorelines have made it easier for water to advance to habitable areas, leaving poorly planned and managed infrastructure in ruins many times. The constant destruction of the ecosystem and the many wastes poured into water bodies have caused a rise in sea levels in the city. And when water rises, everything else sinks. Now you see why.

From stopping workers and traders to go about their daily activities, to the damage to movable and immovable properties, Lagos’ flood is still one of its greatest undersides as a city, despite its bright sides.

Flooding Diseases and Public Health

For a city of Lagos’ massive population, it’s not strange that its public health system is one of the most responsive in the country. This is also necessitated by the public health needs that arise as a result of a poor preparation for the rainy season. Flood is party a public health problem which leads to loss of lives, properties, mental health challenges to the affected and diseases to the careless and poorly protected.

Diseases like malaria, typhoid and recently, cholera are rampant in the city due to the habitable environment water provides for vector parasites and microbes. Flood worsens this and keeps people out of their homes, their offices and even businesses. This causes pressure on a barely standing health system, further underlining the need to move before the water runs.

Year after year, Lagosians have had stories of flood to tell and many people have had to move out of their houses, no thanks to these debilitating conditions flood causes. For those who cannot afford it, they stay in those conditions, hope their bodies can withstand diseases and fight for survival. A city which has placed itself at the epicentre of economic prosperity in Africa can do more than Lagos is currently doing, and the responsibility of decency lies on the people and the government.

Water may have become the enemy as it becomes an unwanted visitor to many homes and properties, but it is never the enemy until humans start troubling its peace. Flood is a natural response Lagos is yet to provide artificial solutions to, and the earlier, the better.

Gatekeepers News is not liable for opinions expressed in this article, they’re strictly the writer’s

You May Also Like


Federal Government has issued a warning that River flooding will begin by ending of July. Gatekeepers News reports that according to FG, nineteen states...


Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has sealed a building in the Ijesha Surulere area of Lagos after residents were caught dumping waste on a...


Lagos State Government has identified an unregistered tiger nut drink as the source of the cholera outbreak in Eti-Osa Local Government Area (LGA), the...

Top Story

The number of suspected cholera cases in Lagos State has risen to 401, resulting in 21 fatalities, according to Dr. Kemi Ogunyemi, Special Adviser...