Lagos and Flood: 2 Sides of a Coin (A Thought Piece by Chuka Ihonor)

Following heavy rainfall this past weekend, Lagos recorded some of the worst flooding in the history of state, with residents in parts of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki having their homes and cars inundated with storm water.

You can find viral images and videos across social media that show the extent and severity of damage from the flooding, with the public citing everything from a lack of drainage to the extensive dredging of Eko Atlantic as the cause.

Chuka Ihonor, Image credit: Bellanaija

Mr.Chuka Ihonor, a renowned architect and principal of Lagos-based ARG Studio, offered some insight into the possible causes of the flooding via his instagram account, which he, also shared with us. Have a read.


In Lagos Nigeria, we only have gutters but no drainage.

There’s a very old copy of the NIA-Journal (Nigerian Institute of Architects) from the 1970’s in which my good friend Adigheji Otobo’s father Guy Otobo (a civil engineer whose career in Nigeria’s Federal civil service was a long one) wrote about the flooding of Lagos (particularly the areas closest to the Atlantic Ocean) and some way forward. It felt educative reading it at the time even though Otobo more or less concluded that we were doomed. (As a student in the UK, I would frequent the NIA secretariat at Victoria Island in Lagos during holidays; a pleasant courtyard bungalow and buy their journals, etc.)

We have gone on to build up more land through reclamation, mindless of the various responsibilities that go with it. We travel to sign reclamation contracts with the Dutch, but we do not see that they take care of wider issues before setting off to dig up soil to create land in Netherlands. We talk of Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, but yet…


The self written biography of engineer/poet T.M. Aluko takes us on a journey of his service (from 1960’s) in the Federal Ministry of Works. He talks about South East Ikoyi and South West Ikoyi and the misjudgments, even by the British colonial government in matters pertaining to drainage. ‘Let the water sink after the rain’, they said. Had they built gutters even then, these would be useless today as they would have been expected to drain onto the low lying areas that are today inhabited as Victoria Island and Lekki.


There is no doubt that there are green issues to contend with today: global warming and rising ocean tide, but Lagos seaside development fueled by greed has been subject to misguided and foolish engineering. Until we are ready and able to afford to build dykes, Lagos’ flat low lying areas are doomed!

Bottom line:

Victoria Island should have been left alone as a flood plain. Osborne and Dolphin should never have been created. Lekki area is all ostensibly flood plains. We do not have a flood control mechanism such as a dyke.

If we so much had done all these (or at least the dyke), we would not be where we are now. But the foolishness continues: Eko Atlantic City. A grand money laundering scheme that fits in again with this ‘Land Greed’.

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