Omoruyi Uwuigiaren shares his best in an ever-changing world.
Monday, July 10, 2017
The Lekki-Ajah Corridor Hex - The Present and Future Floods By Ogbo Awoke Ogbo
Actually, I lied in Church this morning - small “white lie.”
The preacher, a retired army general, referring to the Lekki and VI
floods, mentioned a disturbing dream he had had a couple of years ago in
which the entire VGC and Lekki areas were completely submerged.
At the time of his dream, I worked for Chevron in a role as Geographic
Information Systems Team Lead between 2000 and 2006. The Company itself
is situated in the heart of the Lekki Peninsula. I also lived around the
Alpha Beach area at the time.
The learned general approached me
and narrated his concern. He asked what I knew about the geologies and
situational geographics of the area.
••• Before his dream, my concern about a possible natural disaster in the area was already established.
Before going to work, I had jogged every morning, often to the Alpha
beach behind our residence. It amazed me, at the time, just by mere
visual awareness, how each year, the Atlantic claimed a significant
portion of the beach in a determined advance. No one measured!
Again, every year, we experienced an ocean surge in the area. I noticed
that each year, the surge advanced into the Igbo Efon area significantly
further than the preceding year. No one measured.
during the five years I appeared live on Silverbird TV, there were
times, after an overnight rainfall, I literally swam with my SUV to the
partially submerged TV station behind the Jakande Area.
not even where I am going. While waiting for my slot on TV, I would go
to the Beach behind STV to meditate. Friends, within a period of 5
years, I saw the ocean claim 5 or 6 rows of coconut palm trees lining
the beach! That would have been about 30 meters in 5 years! No one was
measuring! Why measure such things when "God is in control?"
Well, then, using the available historical sub-meter pixel satellite
imagery of the area and a digital elevation model, I did a cursory study
of the peninsula. What I saw startled me. (But I must state upfront
that this was not a thorough scientific enquiry that is critical for
understanding the gravity of a disaster lurking in the distance.)
••• Number One: Lekki is completely flat - there’s very insignificant
variation in altitude. Two: Lekki is somewhat below sea level. A
combination of those two factors meant that a mere 50 cm rise in the
Atlantic ocean level could rapidly build a handshake between the ocean
and the Lagoon. I hate to imagine the implication to the VI-Lekki-Ajah
But who cares? And who should care when “God is in control” as we say in Nigeria. No one will measure.
••• About the time I worked in Chevron, the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated a very conservative forecast of rise
in ocean levels of 65 cm by 2100. That has since been adjusted to over
We may say, “Oh 2100 is a long way ahead!” And that is
what kills the “Black Man!” (pardon the racial cliché). Lack of
foresight! Poor planning. Thinking and living for the moment only. No
one is measuring.
Well, the bad news is that scientists are not
sure how fast or how soon this 100 cm rise will happen and what other
geological events other than polar ice melting could trigger the rise.
••• We saw a little rainfall a couple of days and panicked. Like the
behind of a hen when the breeze blows, we were confronted by our
nakedness and utter helplessness with just a little rain. How about if
it rained 40 days and 40 nights?
Here is the worst tragedy of all: We're not learning!
Uka Igwe, my boyhood friend, posted what I thought was the most
brilliant commentary on the Lekki-VI floods on his Facebook wall this
morning, Said he:
“We have recently been inundated with pictures
of flooding all over Lekki in Lagos, there have also been stories of
continuous rain for nearly a week. The pictures are distressing
especially for the people who live in Lekki, Victoria Island, Aja etc.
“However what has been missing seems to be any structured reports of
the amount of rainfall that has caused this. How many millimeters of
rainfall has caused this amount of havoc.
This kind of
information is invaluable in proffering a solution to the problem. I
hate to think that perhaps there is no such information available. Right
there in Victoria Island is the National Institute of Oceanography and
Marine Research. I shudder to think that even they don't have the data.”
That, my friends, is the tragedy of the Nigerian situation. Someone who
works at the Agency that Uka referenced actually confirmed that the
data doesn’t exist! In his depressing words, the Federal Agency, like
others, is there “just to receive allocation and salary!”
Listen, people, it is impossible to run a civilization on haunch and
feelings! A poor country will remain a poor country UNTIL they begin to
make RESEARCH and DATA-DRIVEN decisions!
I’m terrified to
imagine that no one is capturing data on these floods! I’m terrified
that no agency is on TV showing us an impact map of the event! Because
••• Nature is so kind. The Vanguard Newspaper report
of July 8 began with “As usual flood ravaged Lekki, Victoria Island …
after many days of down pour….”
Did you notice the “As usual?”
Each year, the Lekki-VGC-VI corridor receives a yellow card. How many
more yellow cards before the red, no one knows. I’m not a Murphy
evangelist but from experience if a red might come, it will come. It’s
just a matter of when.
About the lie.
The preacher said, “I hope this is not the reason Ogbo moved out of the Lekki area.”
My lie: “Not really. Lekki and VGC are for the big boys! And I’m not a big boy yet.”
I actually ran away from the area but I didn't want to sound as if the
people living there were not smart. We have the cream of Nigeria in that
axis. For all I care, I might just have been a coward - what our people
•••Nevertheless, Lagos has zero natural disaster
contingency plan as many families discovered over the weekend. No one
came for you as you watched your beautiful sitting room turning into a
No one has even mentioned insurance in the narratives.
Same thing in Port Harcourt. Aba Road is to Port Harcourt what
testicles are to a man. Hold him 'there' and he throws up his hands in
surrender. If a disaster sinks Aba Road 2 million residents will be
trapped in a rabbit hole.
••• If the Lagos government would
listen, there needs to be an urgent thorough interdisciplinary study of
the State involving scientists, geologists, soil scientists, satellite
remote sensing experts, GIS, oceanographers, marine biologists,
anthropologists, computer scientists and so on. There are analytical and
predictive tools to model the next 5, 10, 50, 100 year scenarios and
••• At best, my people of Lekki, VGC, Ajah
and VI, please stay as dry as you possibly can. That’s what Facebook
tells me whenever the rain is about to fall.
May God bless and keep you safe!