From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ori Oshoko nestles between Abeokuta South and Obafeåmi Owode local government areas of Ogun State. It is one of the communities that the new Lagos-Ibadan railway project passes through.
The community bordered by Laderin Estate and Olokuta is not only serene, but one of the newest settlements in the axis. Ori Oshoko is in fact, where the terminus of the rail project is sited.
The project has not only opened up the community, value of landed property in the area has also appreciated astronomically. But the rail project, like other developmental projects, has brought with it, environmental pains to the residents.
Roads connecting it to other 16 adjoining communities have been rendered impassable by the Chinese company handling the project. A huge gorge has also been created in the Ori Oshoko as a result of a large body of water being released by the construction company.
When Daily Sun visited the community, many vehicles were seen parked on the other side of Ori Oshoko as a result of the excavated road, preventing residents from driving to their homes.
Chairman, Ori-Osoko Community Development Association (OCDA), Egbeyemi Olakunle, said the excavated portion on the arterial road also prevented some children from attending school: “The terrain has been so damaged by the company that even a motorcycle cannot waddle through the water logged road.
“Federal Government is using the Lagos-Ibadan railway project to destroy the roads that link the community to neighbouring communities. Eight major roads have completely been damaged by the contractor, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
“We have about 14 roads that connect us with over 30 communities. Eight of the major roads have been damaged by the CCECC. We spent nothing less than N200,000 annually to repair each of the roads.
“Our roads are in a very poor condition and this has led to a situation where most of our children cannot go to school. Those with vehicles cannot come out of their houses, especially during downpours.”
He said despite the sufferings the construction company subjected the residents of the community to, there was a plan by government to name the railway terminal located in the community, after another community: “We will resist attempt to name the railway terminal after Laderin Community, which is 15 kilometres away from where the terminal was located.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to consider naming it “Ori Terminal,” because “we have suffered the greatest losses. The Ori-Osoko community has suffered a lot due to the demolition of houses and disruption of commercial activities to pave way for the construction of the rail line.
“Though the Federal Government, in its own little way, compensated those affected with various sums according to the nature of the structures. But it will be unfair on us if the terminal is named after another community that never suffered what we are going through.”
Baale of Ori Oshoko, Chief Ganiyu Odedairo Oshoko, appealed to government to provide resources for the community to house the ancestral deities, whose shrines were bulldozed during construction of the project: “No fewer that 10 shrines housing important deities were destroyed because of the railway project. Atonement and propitiation are being offered the displaced gods.”
Public Relations Officer of the construction company, Olusola Kolade, told Daily Sun: “We have had series of meetings with the communities and some of the issues raised were addressed. But that particular one we are of the view that when the work is completed on the Abeokuta Station, then we will get it done, because there are still treatments of passage in the Abeokuta Station for now.
“We are also working with the deadline. Having discussed with one of the community representatives, I will pass the complains across to the company for possible solution.”