There is glaring evidence that the Federal Government has not been giving attention to the purpose behind the creation of the River Basin Development Authorities, especially the dams.
A good example is the Ogun-Oshun dam that is located between Abeokuta and Igboora (though close to Abeokuta).
If the Ogun-Oshun dam had been properly and effectively put to use, there wouldn’t have been flood around the Long Bridge areas on the Lagos-Ibadan highway and some parts of Ikorodu. Considering the flood challenge, it would have been better if Ogun-Oshun Dam had not been created at all. If the purpose for creating the dam had been pursued, employment opportunities would have been created to productively engage our teeming graduates and many unemployed Nigerian youths in different job schedules.
In addition, the river Basins were meant to bridge the gap between the rural and urban centres by taking development to the grassroots and discourage migration to the urban centres. By this, small and medium scale industries would have been greatly encouraged and business/entrepreneurship promoted.
But, when the Federal Government could no longer pursue the purpose for which the Ogun-Oshun dam was created, it was leased out to private business ventures for fish farming. The three notable commercial fish farm companies presently operating in the dam are: Indian-owned Premium Aquaculture which is rearing fish in large commercial quantities to make profit; Nigerian-owned Ejide Fish Farms, which is a large-scale fish farm known for massive fish supplies to clients nationwide; Durantee farm – owned and managed by another group of Indian businessmen. This company is making a lot of money in Nigeria through the Ogun-Oshun dam that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not put to use as she ought to.
It is also good to mention that another dam called Ikere Gorge Dam in Iseyin and Ogun-Oshun River Basin in Abeokuta are linked through Ogun River that flows from Saki to the Lagos Lagoon.
For the purpose of clarification, Ogun River, whose major tributaries are the Ofiki and Opeki rivers, is waterfront that has its origin from the isolated area of Saki in Oyo North, Oyo State.
Ogun River flows through three states namely: Oyo, Ogun and Lagos- and finally discharges into the lagoon. Ogun River naturally created the politically delineated Oke Ogun enclave that is commonly addressed as Oyo North in most popular literature and research works.
Unfortunately, when the government of Obasanjo that promulgated the River Basin Decree in 1976 returned in 1999 as civilian president, he could not revisit and address the project. Till date, Ikere Gorge Dam is not achieving the purpose of its creation. Sadly again, as massive as the dam is, the project is abandoned without installing the deployed turbine till date.
Obasanjo spent eight solid years as civilian head of state but his agenda was far from completing the project he started as the military leader after many years of abandonment.
The effects of the meeting of the Ogun-Oshun Dam from Abeokuta and Ikere Gorge Dam from Iseyin in Ogun River can easily be imagined. Considering the present flooding ravaging many communities today, the question that should readily come to mind is: is Ogun River deep and wide enough to accommodate the excess water flowing from the two dams? The flood flowing into Isheri, Sparklight Estate, Opic Estate, Warewa, Mokore, Arigbede, Banku, City View Estate, Forthright Estate, Punch Newspaper Company location, parts of Arepo and Magboro Community are clear testimonies that Ogun River is inadequate to accommodate the water-flow from the two dams, not to talk of emptying it into the Lagoon.
It has become needless to say lives and properties have been seriously and lamentably destroyed. We don’t have the statistics of those who have lost their precious lives and properties worth billions of Naira through the flood that is not well managed. Many residents in these affected areas have vacated their submerged and overwhelmed properties. Husbands, wives and the children are scattered over different locations looking for safety and shelter. Children cannot go to schools. This has almost been a perennial experience. The economic strangulation ravaging our nation is not helping matters! Those whose houses are not submerged are managing to go about their daily business activities using canoes as their means of transportation.
It is important to stress the fact that most of the roads in the listed communities were constructed and maintained through communal efforts of tax-paying residents using Community Development Associations (CDA) that are not receiving subventions from government. This flood has cut most roads. We are at a ‘begin again’ level to restore normalcy to our lives, businesses and roads.
• Mr. Tim Amosun, a community leader, wrote from Ogun State