Endless flooding, refuse dump make life unbearable in Lagos community
By Olabisi Olaleye
Right now, all is not well in Igando community in Lagos. Residents are worried that the persistent flooding in the area as well as the stench emanating from the refuse dump in the community might soon cause a major disaster in the area.
Many people told Daily Sun that lives of residents as well as homes and businesses of members of Igando Estate Association, Phase 3, and the entire Igando-Isheri axis in Lagos are at risk. They are also worried that a major catastrophe might be brewing if the Lagos State government does not quickly tackle the annual menace.
Recently, a family came to a morgue in the area to collect a corpse for burial. But the undertakers were forced to carry the casket on their heads because the area was flooded, and the water level was far above their waist lines.
Chairman, Rosellars Amusement Park, Mr. Abraham Ololade, said Igando had been experiencing flooding for over 20 years. He explained that the location of the dump which constantly produced foul odour and the flooding occasioned by the shoddy construction of the drains in the area, might soon force businesses out of Igando.
Said he: “When the trouble started, we were seeing trucks of refuse. I accosted them, but they were too many. What the Ministry of Commerce told us then was that the place was a plastic recycling centre. But unfortunately, it was turned to a refuse dump.
“We made representation to the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), wrote repeatedly and went to their office. Later, they sent a team to us. But nothing was done. They were only sending delegations to appeal to us, promising that they would relocate the refuse dump. The place is between LAWMA office and the Igando General Hospital. Now that everyone is running away from rodents, snakes, spiders and rats, we are still saddled with them.
“Also, the stench oozing from the General Hospital alone is killing. The stench has driven away our customers and our health is at risk. We are appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to come to our aid.”
Mr. Felix Akinuoye said he abandoned his house in the area five years ago, even though he spent nine years struggling to build the house. The alternative, he noted, was that he might one day drown in the flood alongside his family.
Said he: “Many people have relocated to other places. Personally, I abandoned my house since 2011 because the flood and stench would just not let us be. I tried renting it out few years ago but the tenant finally left. For the past five years, I have not collected a dime from the house. And it took me nine good years to build that house. So, we are calling on the government to come to our aid because the problem here is beyond the CDA or any individual.
“The shoddy job that was done during the channelisation of the drains then by three different contractors simultaneously created this havoc. This place is not swampy, but there is a collection of water from other communities.”
Chairman, Vitality Oil and Gas, Otunba Omonijo Toyin, explained that the main drainage was blocked at the Odo Eran (Abbatoir) junction via an underground ring, which he said had caved in.
“Normally, such drainage should be allowed to stay in its natural habitat instead of allowing it pass through cement rings. They should simply cover it with very strong slabs, so that if it’s blocked, it can be easily cleared. Government should do something to alleviate our plight. We are tax-paying citizens. We can’t get any help from the Ministry of Environment but you see them on patrol on normal days, disturbing us,” he lamented.
Prince Adekunle Omosebi said his property worth millions of naira had been destroyed by the flood. He also appealed to the government to intervene.
“I’m appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to come to our aid. A recent downpour affected my building. It started in the middle of the night and the wall collapsed. I had to evacuate my family to the uncompleted first floor, because it’s already roofed. You could imagine what might have happened to my family if I had travelled, as scheduled the day before the incident.”
He regretted that the three different contractors that built the drainage system did a shoddy job, noting that over 2,000 landlords, tenants, churches, industries and amusement parks had moved from the area.
“One of the landlords recently developed high blood pressure that has led to a stroke. The man is partially paralysed. So many people have also been affected in several ways,” he stated.
When the reporter visited the area, it was observed that flooding had wreaked considerable havoc on many houses, including the Toluwalase Mortuary. Its managing director, Mr. Akeem Akinyemi, said the company does its best to protect the dead bodies in its custody. But the flooding is posing a major threat.
Some of the landlords and business owners in the area, including Mr. Akinuoye and the chairmen of Tedco and Rosellars, contributed money and bought two new pumping machines to pump out the water.
Akinuoye said: “We have tried to get government’s attention through various means. We have sent videos, photographs and letters. We have gone in groups to the secretariat at Alausa, but nothing has been done. We have excavated the place many times. I think what should be done now is government’s intervention.”
Another resident, Mr. Ololade agreed. “What we need is a bigger and open drainage similar to the ones constructed at Ikotun and Ejigbo areas,” he said.