© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ikorodu residents bemoan flood in community
By Yusuf Akinpelu
OF all things, rain is not something residents of Owutu, an area in Ikorodu, Lagos state, currently pray for because each time it falls, it comes with horrific experiences.
Heavy rainfall is usually followed by flood on roads, blockage of streets and drainages, hike in transport and freight fare, as well as difficulty in pedestrian ambulation, the residents have said.
Owutu community and others such as Asolo, Isawo, Ojokoro, Agbede, Ori-Okuta, Igbo-Olomu are some of the communities that constitute Ikorodu West local council development area.
Visits to the area by the reporter this week revealed the difficulty residents in the area face each time there is a heavy downpour
“Can you see? This is just rain that lasted for one hour. How about when the rain begins to fall continuously — for three consecutive days, for instance?” a woman, whose road to her residence on Olu Adebayo street has been blocked by flood, said with disgust.
Roads to other adjoining streets such as Gunwa-Ola, Omodisu have also been blocked.
Last Sunday when heavy rain fell, 55-year-old Olanrewaju Jaji said her son was almost trapped in the flood that covered the Asolo-Isawo road.
“When rain falls here, it comes with droppings from hell.
“My son had just completed his university education at the University of Ibadan. He was returning home last Monday with his heavy luggage when he fell inside the flood from the okada (motorcycle taxi )that was carrying him.
“I thank God that he was not injured or that something worse happened. But this situation is serious. This road ought to have been done to a stage where it would not cause danger to the people in the community.”
As for Lekan Toheeb, a tricycle rider (commonly called maruwa or keke napep), plying the road during the rainy season has not been a good experience.
“This rainy season is giving us headache. Workers can’t go to work. Since morning my keke has broken down. Please help us beg the government to do something. I’ve been here for the past two hours, repairing my keke,” he lamented.
The reporter observed as a number of people turned back home because of the difficulty in transporting themselves to their place of work.
Mrs Adebayo, a trader in Asolo area, also echoed her frustration about the heavy downpours and the attendant hike in transport fare.
Transport fare to Agric bus stop which normally ranges between N50 and N100 now costs N500.
“We have to pay more for transport because of the flood.
“See the front of my shop: flood. I had to use this stick to divert the dirt elsewhere. It’s just too hard for us.”
Another tricycle rider named Qosim who spoke to the reporter recalled the state of the road before the state government began expansion on it. He blamed the hardship they face on the negligence of the government.
“This problem began since when the bitumen on the road was scrapped off,” Qosim recounted. “Had it been they didn’t scrap it off then, it wouldn’t have been this difficult.
“Each time rain falls, the potholes become deeper. If the roads are smooth, one can still navigate the flood.
“But if you unknowingly ride your keke into those holes and the engine sucks water, it will break down immediately. It is water that caused the breakdown of those you see there,” Qosim said, pointing at a number of broken tricycles metres away.
He suggested levelling of the road as a temporary solution but was sceptical if the government quick intervention.
“Since they abandoned work on the road in December [last year], the road has gone from bad to worse.”
Although governor Akinwunmi Ambode had earlier said the project would be completed between March and April of this year, but he has not fulfilled the promise yet.
The project which started in 2017, according to the signpost of the project, is expected to last for 20 months.
When contacted, the Lagos state Commissioner for Information, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said he was indisposed and could not “speak for now”.
He, however, said the Commissioner for Works should be reached instead for information.
The reporter called Mr. Ade Akinsanya, Lagos state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, but he did not answer any of the calls. He also did not reply to the text message sent to him.