Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Field Project Assessment
Reducing the Impact of Flooding in Lagos, Nigeria

Date of
Site visit: 8th to 13th July 2002
Assessment completed: 16th September 2002
conducted by
Ms. Gillian Cambers, Mr. Vidyut Joshi, UNESCO-CSI consultants (not closely associated with the project);
Mr. Larry Awosika, Ms. Regina Folorunsho, Mr. Adesina Adegbie, Ms. Dublin Green, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR);
Mr. Anthony Maduekwe, UNESCO-Abuja Office;
Mr. Ene Baba-Owoh Jr., Clean-up Nigeria, (all closely associated with the project).
Mr. B.I. Ezenwa, Director of NIOMR also made a significant contribution to the assessment exercise.
  1. Awosika, L., Adekoya, E.A., Adekanmbi, M.A., Dublin-Green, C.O., Folorunsho, R., Jim-Saiki, L. 2000. Study of main drainage channels of Victoria and Ikoyi Islands in Lagos, Nigeria and their response to tidal and sea level changes. 108 pp.

  2. Folorunsho, R., and Awosika, L.  2001.  Flood mitigation in Lagos, Nigeria through wise management of solid waste: a case of Ikoyi and Victoria Islands.  (Paper presented at the UNESCO-CSI workshop, Maputo 19-23 November 2001).

  3. Reducing the impact of flooding in Lagos, Nigeria: project summary.  2001.

  4. Awosika, L. and Maduekwe, A. 2001.  Flooding in Lagos: what you should know.  12 pp.

  5. Lagos State Government, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, UNESCO. 2001.  The Lagos State Government needs all your cooperation and assistance   Handbill.

  6. Flooding in Lagos.  Poster.

  7. The Guardian newspaper.  8th July 2002.  Victoria storm surge.

  8. Clean-up Nigeria. 2001. Report on awareness campaign. 14 pp.
  9. Lagos State Government Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning (Drainage Department).  July 2002.  Proposals for Donor Assistance. 16 pp.

Discussions and meetings with: 
  • Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research – Mr. B. I. Ezenwa, Director (acting); Ms. Dublin Green, Assistant Director; Mr. Larry Awosika, Chief Research Officer, Ms. Regina Folorunsho, and Mr. Adesina Adegbie, Marine Geology and Geophysics Division; Mr. Ayinla, Aquaculture Division; Ms. Agnes Ajana, Assistant Director, Extension, Research and Liaison Services Division.

  • UNESCO-Abuja Office – Mr. Anthony Maduekwe.

  • Lagos State Government Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning – Mr. Arc I.K.B. Anibaba, Hon. Commissioner; Mr. Akin Gbajabiamila, Director, and Mr. Abdoe, Deputy Director, Drainage Division.

  • Nigeria Tourism Authority – Mr. Santos.

  • Clean-up Nigeria – Mr. Ene Baba-Owoh Jr., Executive Chairman, Mr. Ufana Udam.

  • AIM Consultants – Mr. Amin I. Moussalli, Managing Director, Mr. Nezar Eldidy, Deputy Managing Director.

Seminar at NIOMR: 

  •  ‘Wise coastal practices for sustainable human development – the UNESCO-CSI platform’.  Ms. Gillian Cambers. ‘Interdisciplinary and intersectoral marine area research for sustainable development’. Mr. Vidyut Joshi.  45 participants from NIOMR, Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Federal Department of Fisheries, Universities of Lagos, Benin and Lagos State, Environmental Resource Managers Ltd, Lagos State Government Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, UNESCO-Abuja Office.

Field visits: 

  • Drainage channels in Victoria and Ikoyi Islands and discussions with people working in the vicinity.

  • Bar Beach, Victoria.

Constraints: The visit was very well planned and there were no constraints.

Field Project Assessment

The sixteen characteristics, used to define ‘wise practices’, are used here to assess this field project. A qualitative scale is used as follows:

None: The field project activities to date do not comply with this characteristic and/or the characteristic is not relevant to the project.
Slightly: The field project activities to date have begun in some preliminary way to satisfy  this characteristic.
Partially: The field project activities to date have gone some significant way towards fulfilling this characteristic.
Fully: The field project activities to date fully satisfy this characteristic.  

This assessment is based only on the activities undertaken to date, and does not include those planned for the future.

Have the project activities ensured long term benefit?  


The activities have provided for some long-term benefit, e.g. they have sensitised the Lagos State Government to provide properly built drains on newly constructed roads such as Akin-Adesola Road and Awolowo Road, and to ensure that existing drains are cleaned regularly.  In addition, the public forum held in June 2000, and the follow-up awareness campaign in 2001, have raised the level of awareness in the general public about how the dumping of garbage in the drainage channels accentuates the flooding problems.

Do the project activities provide for capacity building and institutional strengthening?


The agencies involved in the project activities have benefited from capacity building.  NIOMR has enhanced their capacity in hydrology and coastal engineering, and students from the University of Lagos were involved in conducting the oceanographic study.  Other agencies such as Clean-up Nigeria and the Drainage Division of the Lagos State Government have also benefited, e.g. the project activities have provided a framework for capacity building so that now the Lagos State Government are aware of the need to work with other agencies to solve the drainage problems.  This was also borne out by the fact that the 2001 awareness campaign was sponsored by UNESCO-CSI, NIOMR and the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, and that during the assessment visit the two agencies collaborated to prepare a proposal for donor funding for engineering works, capacity building and awareness activities, which will be presented to various donors in the near future.  The project activities, especially the awareness campaign, have also provided for capacity building in youth and community groups.

Are the project activities sustainable? Partially

The fact that the Lagos State Government now fully understands the importance of maintaining the drainage channels, covering them where appropriate, and making adequate provisions for drainage with new road construction, is indicative of the sustainability of the project activities.  In addition, a start has been made in encouraging communities to adopt a self-help mentality instead of just waiting for government action.  However, better coordination of activities is needed, so that the piles of garbage removed from the channels are quickly and promptly removed and not left alongside the channels as is now the case.

Have the project activities been transferred?


While some initial discussions have been held with the Akwa-Iboh State Government about transferring the project activities, this has not been undertaken to date.

Are the project activities interdisciplinary and intersectoral?


Bearing in mind that the project is still at a very preliminary state and that it was initiated as an oceanographic study, only a few disciplines have been involved – physical sciences (oceanography, hydrology, meteorology), and civil engineering.  The need to include other disciplines, especially sociology and law, is essential.  Several different sectors have been involved in the project activities, including government, non-government organisations (NGOs), media, civil society, youth groups, community groups and professional groups.

Do the project activities incorporate participatory processes?


Participatory processes were not a part of the planning stages of the project, nor of the drainage survey.  However, the public forum in June 2000 allowed all stakeholders to fully participate in the project.  During the forum, criticism was voiced by resident groups about the Lagos State Government’s handling of the flooding issue. During the 2001 awareness campaign there were opportunities for different groups - residents associations, youth clubs, workers’ groups, women’s groups, corporate organisations - to participate fully in the activities and discussion of the issues.  The two activities, the 2000 public forum and the 2001 awareness campaign ensured that there was full transparency in the management of the issues of flooding and improper garbage disposal in the drainage channels.

Do the project activities provide for consensus building?


During the planning of the project there was some opportunity for consensus building since some government organisations wanted the project activities focused in different geographical areas.  However, the project is still in too early a phase for consensus building to have been achieved among the different groups.

Do the project activities include an effective and efficient communication process?


There has been effective dialogue between NIOMR, the Lagos State Government and the University of Lagos, especially the Departments of Hydrology and Surveys.  Furthermore, the 2000 public forum and the 2001 awareness campaign were very effective in ensuring the general public was fully informed and had the opportunity to contribute and voice their views. Relationships were established with various media organisations to highlight the issues both during and after the 2001 awareness campaign. Nevertheless, the short-term nature of the awareness campaign, which spanned a six-month period from March to September 2001, was recognised as a limitation, since in order to change attitudes, such campaigns need to be continued for a much longer time period. However, the fact that the Lagos State Government, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning are continuing some of the awareness activities, is encouraging.

Are the project activities culturally respectful?


The project was designed initially as an oceanographic project, with no account being taken of cultural considerations.  The issue of people’s attitudes to garbage disposal and the cleanliness of their environment is a very complex one in Nigeria with its cultural diversity and changing lifestyles. While the 2001 awareness campaign tried to focus on certain key groups such as the market women and youth, there is a need for future activities to fully incorporate the cultural dimension.

Do the project activities take into account gender and/or sensitivity issues?


During the awareness campaign certain key groups were targeted, such as market women, wives associations, street hawkers, drivers in taxi parks, and roadside garage workers.  Women and youth from grassroots associations were trained as community outreach officers for the purposes of the awareness campaign. In view of the important role of women in household cleanliness, and children who are the ones often charged with disposing of the household garbage, there is a need to maintain a special focus on these groups in the future.

Do the project activities strengthen local identities?


The project activities have helped to highlight the fact that some people take an interest in the cleanliness of their immediate surroundings.  Several of the drainage channels are clean and almost free of garbage indicating people’s concern.  However, with other channels the opposite was the case with drains completely blocked with garbage.  Some individuals are also sufficiently concerned to complain to the government about the garbage disposal problem, and the public forum in June 2000 gave them a further opportunity to voice these concerns in a very direct and open manner.

Do the project activities shape national legal policy?


The project is still in too early a phase to contribute to national policy.  However, a National Environmental Plan of Action is under preparation and one of the major issues is solid waste disposal, so it is anticipated that the project activities will be able to contribute to this plan in the future.

Do the project activities encompass the regional dimension?


The initial oceanographic study included the issue of sea level rise and how this influenced flooding in Ikoyi and Victoria Islands.  The project activities are also relevant to other regional activities such as the Marine Debris Regional Project (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission).

Do the project activities provide for human rights?


The project activities contribute to addressing the basic rights of access to resources necessary for an adequate standard of living, including health, well-being, medical care housing, and necessary social services, Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1].   

Have the project activities been documented?


The project activities have been fully documented, see list at the beginning of this assessment.

Have the project activities been evaluated?


A preliminary assessment of the project was conducted by Mr. H. Baral in 2000.  However, this is the first full assessment.

[1] Article 25. 1 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being if himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the face of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Synthesis and list of main issues from the assessment 

  1. This project is in an early phase, thus many of the wise practice characteristics have yet to be fully taken into consideration.
  2. The project needs to expand its horizon from the initial focus on drainage channels to clean urban living.
  3. There is a need to involve all relevant disciplines and sectors in future activities.

Future project activities   

  1. Prepare two additional chapters (each 5-10 pages in length) detailing (a) the 2001 awareness campaign and (b) other events that have taken place since June 2000, for inclusion in a document to be published as part of the CSI papers/info series.  (The report prepared in 2000 by NIOMR forms the first part of this publication).
  1. Update the summary of the field project (last update 5th October 2001).
  1. Prepare two articles for the Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development forum, each 500-750 words long, and each to define and discuss one or more of the wise practices that are emerging from the project activities.
  1. Establish a small committee comprising government, NGOs, community groups, corporate sector, media, academia and international organisations, to coordinate future project activities.
  1. Identify one drainage channel, which will form the target of a micro-project to provide a model of clean urban environment through the development of a wise practice agreement.
  1. In coordination with the awareness activities being conducted on behalf of Lagos State Department of Drainage, work with experienced NGOs to expand on the successes of the 2001 awareness campaign, and especially target key groups, e.g. women, children, scavengers, as well as involving corporate and private organisations in sustainable awareness activities, which will also include the micro project described in No. 5.
  1. Select two of the previously surveyed drainage channels, which have been rehabilitated, to determine the effectiveness of the rehabilitation work.
  1. Work with the Lagos State Government Ministry of the Environment and Physical Planning (Drainage Department) to obtain funding for the proposal for flood control dated July 2002.
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