Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, has warned Lagosians to stop burying dead bodies of their loved ones at home as the action has serious climatic and health implication.
This is coming as the governor disclosed that the state will need N27 billion to fight ocean surge in the next three years. Fashola spoke on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the 5th Climate Change Summit held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
According to the governor, burying corpses at home was never a good option for Lagosians, explaining that it portends danger to people. He said with the drilling of boreholes for water, there are prospects of getting toxins from decomposing corpses mixing with the water.
The governor added that the Eko Atlantic City was one of the mitigation and adaptation strategy adopted by the administration to protect the real estate. He said that if the Eko Atlantic City had not been started, it would not have been possible for people to converge on the coastline today.
Disclosing that the state needed money to fight ocean surge, he explained: "In the implementation of last year’s budget, government did not foresee that the uncompleted part of the Eko Atlantic would be overrun by the sea when the sea surged into the Kuramo late last year and took away the walls of most of the properties there down to Alpha beach.
In the last quarter of the year, we called all the departments together that everybody must contribute some capital votes so that we can start the urgent protection of all the properties, starting from Oniru right down to Alpha Beach. It is a project that will cost N27 billion over three years.
We are not getting any help from anywhere, but we have committed about N6 billion to it already and it gladdens my heart when I went there with my colleagues and saw that the shoreline that was already on the fence of those properties was already moving back."
As part of efforts to prevent avoidable disasters, Fashola said the government was recommending 0.55mm as roofing sheet size for private concern and 0.70mm for commercial and industrial concerns.
He reiterated that government wanted agencies like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria to ensure that substandard materials were not brought in to the country and the state. "We cannot afford to build with substandard materials. Our professionals should not be a part of lowering the standard.
We will act severely to punish anyone who participates in it. The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is already issuing notice of non compliance to professional associations and members who we find as accomplices in the sector," he said.
Fashola noted that this year’s Climate Change Summit focused on housing, adding that this explained why the state is cleaning over 1,000 of drainage network round the city spread across 24 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas. He said since the stock of houses were not enough and more houses were needed, the emphasis should be about the people not allowing the houses to be taken over by floods and dumped in canals.
Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, said the previous summits had clearly shown that the state’s commitment to the development and evolvement of a climate change-conscious is yielding positive results. He said the desire had propelled the administration to come up with a topical issue that is in tune with the policy thrust of the administration as the theme which is "vulnerability and Adaptability to Climate Change in Nigeria with particular focus on transportation, housing and infrastructural sectors of Lagos State."
Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Carter, said climate change is a global challenge which countries are better off facing together, adding that it posed a fundamental threat to man’s long term prosperity and security. He said the United Kingdom is working to build the capacity of African nations to better coordinate and communicate messages of the threat that climate change poses.
He also explained that UK is also helping African nations to adapt to climate change and promote low carbon development/renewable so that they could avoid being locked in to high carbon as they industrialise.