Flooding Of Isheri Community… A Diasater Foretold 15 Years Ago
IF the appropriate authorities had taken the right steps and acted on the warnings by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), the huge loss of both human and properties would have been saved including funds that should go into helping victims of the flooded communities around Isheri and its environ. None seemed to have bothered about the warning given by the federal agency about the Ogun State communities, not even the state government agency, which is supposed to provide the right environmental agenda for the development of lands in the state and around the affected communities. It was gathered that when construction works commenced along the Lagos- Ibadan expressway stretch of wetland, the state agency did not carry out any proper scientific study and Environmental Impact Assessment as stipulated by the EIA Act of 1992. The fragile five kilometres stretch of ecosystem along the highway had continued to trigger flooding since 1992; and the situation has not changed in the past few years. It became a national issue recently when the rains came down in torrents, flooding the banks of Ogun River and Ikorodu, displacing many from their homes. In fact, the flood was so devastating last year that it reportedly killed 25 people and forced President Jonathan to visit the affected areas with Governor Raji Fashola. The situation in Lagos State and neighbouring Ogun State was a disaster foretold 15 years ago by Dr. Goke Adegoroye, one-time Director General of Federal Environmental Protection Agency, (FEPA). Adegoroye, at a conference organized by Environmental Protection Society of Nigeria, had said that, “The experience of 1991-1993 shows that without going back to the drawing board, the project may be heading for the record books as a classic case of misguided property development.“ In a paper titled, ‘Environmental Consideration in Property Design Urban Development Renewal’, he asked; ‘ What is the true value of a property on a sand -filled plot, threatened by sea surge, accessed by a single lane, rough, pot-hole rich road; flooded by every rain and impassable on sunny days due to traffic congestion; deafened and poisoned by the noise and fumes from its power generating sets; and dwarfed by its satellite dish?” Adegoroye warned that carrying out a project of such a magnitude without proper EIA “was taunting nature.” In a related development, in far away United States of America, one of the most dangerous and classic environmental nightmare cases in the world was the story of the Love Canal in the United States. The horror story of Love Canal began in 1920 when a channel was used as chemical and waste dump site. The channel was later filled up with sand in 1953. Houses and schools were later built on the site by developers. Few years later, the effect of the chemicals and wrong sand filling without proper EIA came to light. The people began to develop serious problems and the women had spontaneous abortions and deformed babies. Love Canal later became a “Horror Canal.” In the end during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, the people of Love Canal were evacuated.