The study observes that Nigeria is a developing country that has witnessed a trend of cities’ development and growth at a remarkable rate since independence.

Today, the country’s level of urbanization which is a process that depicts a tendency for a dramatic increase in urban areas and an increase in the absolute number of urban dwellers is estimated at 53%. Judging by the growth rate of about 2.8-3% a year, it is projected that by the year 2050, 67% of Nigeria’s population will reside in urban areas.  

This turning point signifies that the ‘urban way of life is upon the people implying that cities will grow more rapidly and the urban population will increase exponentially.

The form of urban areas has been understood to be a precious possession of humanity. The reason is that they usually contain the best social facilities like health, education, recreation and housing.  

This is in addition to infrastructural facilities such as sanitation, water, sewage, transportation and communication.  The conscious development of human settlement occurs with the motive of enhancing urban dwellers ’residential satisfaction and quality of life.

The drastic and dramatic changes that are often associated with the cities’ nature as centres of economic growth, civilization and innovation make them attractive at an alarming rate to migrants who are mostly young people that are without skill, training and qualification for employment into available job opportunities in cities.

 The resultant effects are complex problems that are exacerbated in a situation where the massive urban growth is not accompanied by concomitant processes of industrial growth and inadequate preparation for the negative consequences of urbanization.

 The process becomes a catalyst for the urbanization of poverty growing especially in cities in form of infrastructure decay, overcrowding, acute shortage of quality housing, slums, increasing pollution, lack of green spaces, uncoordinated urban development environmental problems and creation of blighted high-density areas without adequate infrastructural facilities.

These conditions are reflections of urban changes that indicate the spatial disparities which exist in terms of wealth, lifestyle, consumption and situatedness within the classical models of cities’ internal structures. Nigerian cities just like their counterparts in other developing nations suffer these problems in different combinations and magnitude. 

In Lagos city, for instance, these areas are inhabited by the vulnerable low-income earners who face devastating health and economic hardship arising from the critical effect of stressors such as flooding and the covid-19 pandemic.

“Indeed, the conditions in high-density areas of Lagos city tend to challenge urban planners to harness urbanization for sustainable development by reinventing city planning and transforming cities in innovative ways towards the creation of cities that are needed in the future as against the contemporary cities that we have”.   

The study emphasizes that Lagos will be critical for Nigeria to recover from the covid-19 pandemic and climate change within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) context by leveraging on the potential role of housing as an important urban infrastructure factor that enhances people’s ability to withstand the immediate and longer-term effects of covid-19 and climate change-related stressors as the hazard subsists.  

Lagos is the hub of commercial activities in Nigeria characterized by a dense population, low lying topography and coastal location that aggravates its proneness to the surge in rainfall and perennial flooding.  In the history of urban flooding in Lagos, the year 2012 had been considered to be the worst flood event in over 40 years.

The menace which adversely affected the economic survival of many residents caused damage to infrastructure and led to the untimely death of seven people, as It was induced by climate change, man-made causes deriving from apathy to urban and regional planning law and building codes, blockage of drainage network and indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the drainage facilities.   

The recent devastating effect of the urban flooding problem on residents of Lagos in the year 2020 was compounded by the covid -19 pandemic scourge which ravaged the world. The first case of the covid-19 disease in Lagos state was confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Health in February 2020. The pandemic impacted the residents negatively in terms of health conditions, economic livelihood, personal relationships and mobility among others.  Since inception, the statistical record (60,366 cases) as of 12th July 2021 indicates that the Lagos index case requires urgent attention.  An assertion that synchronizes with the Lagos State Governor statement of  8th  July 2021: “The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern.”

The situation of flooding with the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic is more worrisome considering the fact that 60 % of the over 20 million Lagos residents inhabit a slum environment or high-density neighbourhood area that is deficient in infrastructural facilities.

 A condition that does not bode well for its megacity status. It does not only make living in such disadvantaged areas of the city very difficult but tends to aggravate the area’s increasing vulnerability to disaster. Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is likely to experience harm due to stress.

Nonetheless, responding to the covid-19 pandemic and climate extreme by the Nigerian government has been a top priority for the vast majority of towns and cities.  Lagos State Government intervention measures to address flooding has been remarkable including repairs on damage drainage; desilting and construction of primary and secondary drainages; prevention of indiscriminate dumping and awareness creation among others.

 Additionally, the covid-19 control strategy policy by the government has taken various forms including fumigation of markets and public places, social distancing enforcement, wearing of face mask, washing of hands with running water, use of sanitiser, self-isolation, lockdown and distribution of palliatives.

The effectiveness of various traditional approaches adapted to minimize the effects of flooding yielded results that leave much to be desired in view of the catastrophic effect of flooding on the residents currently. 

The lockdown policy of covid-19 control does not only induce households hunger and negative coping habits but also low purchasing power. The fact that houses lack basic amenities aggravated by the factor of overcrowding inhibits the possibility of accomplishing social distancing and the reality of working from home because of a lack of electricity. Invariably, residents were prompted to congregate in public places. Lack of water supply makes regular washing of hands difficult for the residents. While lethargy to use of face mask hinged on attitudinal behaviour.

 Within the context of creating the road map towards managing the effects of the hazards, there is a need to embrace certain policy initiatives towards improving the resilience of densely residential areas of Lagos in a sustainable manner.

It, therefore, recommends Operationalizing the concept of good governance that embraces the principles of (SDG) goal 11 that is concerned about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The strategy here is conscious preparation for and creation of resilient cities with the ability to absorb and recover from a community imminent disaster.  

 “Application of urban regeneration strategy as one-stop-shop in the post covid recovery drive by institutional arrangement, roles are assigned to state and local government that enables the tier to leverage on the covid-19 crisis to help prepare for the future”.

This strategy entails consideration of housing as health insurance resulting in innovative home-based financing that allows giving of long term loans at an affordable cost to homeowners and those in vulnerable condition to undertake eco-sustainable renovation by retrofitting that ensures the better building, sanitary condition improvement, achievement of more comfortable and healthier homes, Invariably changing the concept of home into a wider spectrum on the basis of “new normal situation”.

“Integration of health in urban and territorial planning. The strategy requires an adaption of an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach towards a healthier urban environment; actions required in this regard include the prioritization of provision of urban public health care facilities and its integration into urban resilience efforts’’.

It entails designation of a hospital for infectious diseases, investment in intensive care unit and incorporation of enhanced channels of awareness creation for the underprivileged and intervention approaches to address air pollution in such sectors as transport, energy and waste.

“Adaptation of the use of green infrastructure to flood management. It is an approach to solving urban flooding problems by building with nature. It involves an action plan that makes use of permeable pavement or other permeable surfaces or stormwater harvest and reuses or landscaping to store or open parks to infiltrate or evapotranspiration of stormwater. Tree planting and urban agriculture are considered paramount to a reduction of flows to a sewer system or surface water.  

 “Embracing the practice of spatial planning solution to urban problems by building of resilient cities across impact dimension of health, economy and environment sustainably”

This strategy involves consideration of urban form with mixed land use as a more sustainable and resilient compact city form that enhances location and equitable distribution of basic amenities and services like water, sanitation, waste disposal, education and recreational facilities as crucial for the resilience and social well-being.

Dr. Abimbola Omolabi Wrote In Via bimboomolabi@yahoo.com, Can be Reached Through +2348033194260

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