A year after more than a thousand residents in Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle community in Oke -Odo Local Council Development Area in Lagos State cried out to the Lagos State government that their community was being threatened by floodwaters, respite is yet to come to them.
Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle community shares a boundary with Ogun State at the Toll Gate area Lagos – Abeokuta Express Way.
It was gathered that the appeal by the community through media publications last year got the attention of the Lagos State government which resulted in the government sending engineers to repair the canal causing the flooding in the community.
However, shortly after the engineers moved equipment to the canal, the residents who expressed happiness that their community would soon be free from flood said they were shocked when they woke up one day and discovered that the engineers had moved their equipment away without repairing the collapsed canal and the dilapidated bridge.
Also, commuters were seen avoiding the dilapidated bridge. Further investigation showed that the Folashade Tinubu Market at the Ojokoro end of the bridge has been consumed by erosion resulting in traders relocating from the market due to fear of being swept away.
It can be recalled that the residents said they had sent several appeal letters and emissaries to the Lagos State Government to do the needful and repair the canal and the bridge but to no avail.
They further raised the alarm of the canal flooding their community and schoolchildren sometimes falling into the canal while returning from school during rainfall.
The Chairman of Community Development Association Ilo Ajegunle Boundary, Pastor Jeremiah Omomogbe, said: “We have over 100,000 residents and the canal is the worst now. We have written letters to the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, and they have been here to assess it. They drew a plan on paper that they would soon start work. They came with their equipment and left. I have taken more than 20 letters to governor Sanwo-Olu and the ministry. I went to the engineer called Mr. Sanusi at the Obalende area to ask why they left without repairing the canal, but they did not give me any favourable answer. Flood is bad and we do not wish to experience it ever again.”
A business owner and community leader who simply identified herself as Benjamin, said: “We have appealed to the government to avert a disaster. Lagos State government officials are collecting tax from us, and we have been crying to them to no avail. We were very happy when we saw the engineers with the equipment last year to fix the canal but shortly after, we were surprised when the engineers packed their equipment and left without doing anything on the site. We do not know why they left, and no explanation was given to us. As I am talking to you, rain has started again and the canal is worse because it has not been dredged, sand has filled it up and this has worsened the situation and our children will be in danger again while returning from school during the rains. We do not want to lose any one of them, which is why we are appealing to the government of Lagos State to come to our rescue so that we do not lose anyone before the canal and the bridge will be repaired.”
Chief Bose Ibrahim the leader of the Folashade Market Ilo Oja said: “This market was given to the traders by Folashade Tinubu. She bought five plots of land and gave them out for trading, but flooding from the dredging of the canal is washing away the market. We loaded five lorries of sand daily to stop the erosion to no avail. The situation is beyond us, and the government needs to intervene urgently to save our livelihood. For more than four years, nothing had been done.”
The chairman of the Abbattior in the Ilo- Boundary Ajegunle community, Suraju Ojikuto, while speaking on the danger the canal poses, said: “There was a time it rained heavily during the day and three children going home fell and the canal wall collapsed, and they have swept away. Fortunately, some of our meat sellers saw what happened and quickly jumped into the floodwater and rescued the children, and took them home. The rain has started again, and we thought by now the government would have fixed the problem, but the engineers came, and did as if they wanted to start work, then left without doing anything.”
Another businessman, Saheed Lamidi said: “We were overwhelmed with happiness when the engineers came to fix the canal because our businesses could be swept away. There was a white man among the engineers, but they just disappeared one day. They left with their equipment without repairing anything. This is very sad. The canal walls have collapsed. The bridge is already waiting to collapse. This is an impending disaster, and the government should rise to avert it.”