In a bid to prevent recurrence of floods that ravaged the community for a greater part of last year, residents of Isheri Estate in Lagos and Ogun states have called on the two state governments to do a proper channelling of the community as well as provide basic infrastructure in the area.
Chairman of Riverview Estate Residents and Stakeholders’ Association, Mr. Abayomi Akinde, lamented that both states erred in allocating lands without considering how water could be channelled in the community.
The pioneer managing director of Ogun-Osun Rivers Basin Development Authority (OORBDA), the late Chief Lekan Are, had last month disclosed that both Lagos and Ogun states exploited the vast area termed “flood plains” for their economic advantage, to the detriment of subscribers.
He was of the opinion that the land should not have been allocated, adding that the dam has been releasing water since 1983 without complaint from people about flooding.
Are’s position was faulted by the residents who said his submission was myopic, considering massive shortfall in housing and the ever-dwindling land resources to build houses for Nigeria’s increasing population. The residents said people were not complaining of flooding in the past because the flood occurred less frequently before the construction of the Oyan Dam: “There were historical facts that the dam, whose function included flood control, has contributed significantly to flooding over the years due to its poor management. As it stands today, neither Lagos nor Ogun could ever muster the resources needed to resettle the people who have built houses in this area, it is cheaper to solve the flooding issue than to contemplate the other options.”
The problem of climate change notwithstanding, the residents insisted that attempt of the management of OORBDA to quickly raise climate change issue in defence of its obvious cluelessness was laughable:
“You cannot win a climate change argument without supporting it with data. Rainfall data from the catchment areas of Oyan Dam over the past three decades does not suggest that there’s significantly higher amount of rainfall in 2019 to justify the massive release of water.
“Any suggestion that people should give up their houses was in bad taste and an obvious sign of lack of compassion for people who innocently bought into government schemes, invested all of their lives’ savings to build a home without knowing the danger they faced. Besides, such suggestion would strengthen the hands of the people managing the dam to continue their irresponsible behaviour.
“It is not too late for the governments to do the right thing. We agree that channelling the water now could be capital intensive, but the area is capable of paying for its own development several times over if the two governments could come together and involve stakeholders that have a clear understanding of the issues at stake.
“New Orleans, Louisiana, Miami-Dade County, Florida and Southern California all in USA are flood plains. The city of Amsterdam is too well known to continue to emphasise.” The residents also charged the current management of the dam to release water for processing when needed and stop flooding the environment with water during rainy season as was the case in recent past.
The association also advised the management of the dam to up its game “as the management model employed 40 years ago would no longer work in this day and age due to obvious reasons of growth and development that had taken place in both Lagos and Ogun states over the years.”