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Lagos Drains: When silts, rubbish turned to eyesore


Lagosians have come to associate the sight of able-bodied men clearing (desilting) clogged drains of sand and sundry rubbish with imminent rain. And really, it is a welcomed idea to many residents, especially those that live in areas that are prone to floods, with the accompanying inconveniences.

But as much as this seasonal task is required to enable free flow of rain and industrial waters, which apparently prompted the state government’s intervention, an aspect of it seems counter-productive. And this diminishes the accolades that ordinarily should have been accorded such initiative.

The usual practice is to throw the sand and rubbish up onto the sides of the gutters, apparently for onward movement to the various dumpsites across the state. But in most cases, these heaps are left to dry in the places and are never taken away.


Tokunbo Willoughby, who lives in Ajao Estate and owns a pharmacy in the estate, Lagos, finds it hard to understand the rationale behind the whole thing, especially since the rubbish ends up going back into the gutters and drainages.

“There is this messy look that the dirty heaps leave by the roadsides, that is so annoying,” he said. “Passers-by walk on the heaps of rubbish, and in no time, everywhere is looking filthy, with nylons, plastic bottles and papers, among others, littering the roads. And you begin to wonder why they embarked on the project in the first place, if they had no intention of promptly moving the rubbish away. It is truly a disgusting sight!

“The other time, I had to employ some labourers to clear the rubbish heaped by the sides of the drain that runs in front of my pharmacy. My customers were complaining, as they had to walk over the heaps.”

Indeed, the sight can be sickening, as an otherwise clean road or street becomes dirty overnight, on account of heaps of rubbish that were not removed. And the dirty mounds are practically everywhere. From Ikeja to Oshodi, Mushin, Ajao Estate, Lawanson and Mazamaza, it is the same story all over.

Buttressing Willoughby’s stand, Omotayo Adepoju, a resident in Ikeja, Lagos, said if government is not ready to go the whole hog, then there is no point starting in the first place.


She said: “One would have thought as the men are taking out the rubbish from the gutters, there would be trucks that will immediately move them to the dumpsites. The idea of leaving the dirty heaps by the roadside for a long time is baffling. Something should be done to correct it.”

She advised the state government to put in place measures that will ensure that the intention behind desilting the gutters and drainages is fully fulfilled.

However, the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Drainages and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, explained that the delay in the removal of evacuated silt and other substances from the roadsides was due to a shortfall in its evacuation trucks.

He said: “The evacuation trucks that we have are not many, but we are working on the issue, as we have imported many and they are on the way to Nigeria. But the silt and refuse will be cleared, not all will go back into the drains. We are doing our best; we even work in the night now with the few trucks that we have. We are on it. The new trucks that are coming are going to help in ensuring that the silt are moved quickly.”


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Joe IgbokweLagos drains
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