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Battle over filthy canal rages

By Regina Akpabio and Seye Olumide   |   19 December 2009   |   3:24 am  

There are so many things that stop the flow of the water. The weeds have taken a greater potion, leaving mud and refuse to share the remaining part. Now, the dark lazily-flowed water seethes through a narrow passage to nowhere.

Even as people were passing along the road that runs across the canal, some residents casually strolled in to defecate into it, adding to the burden of the canal.

Even as the canal kept emitting offensive odour, it was business as usual in the neigbourhood. The roadside traders and their patrons were carrying out their businesses as if nothing was wrong. Some even displayed their wares close to the bank of the canal along the University Road.

The case was not different at the same canal, which runs through the road leading to Onike Roundabout. Apart from being covered by overgrown weeds and rots, the stench that forced passers-by to cover their noses still persisted.

A resident, Mr. Paul Agomoh, said: “Nobody needs to tell you how much we are suffering because of the situation of the canal. Even as it is, some residents constantly walk in to defecate into it. You can imagine how bad an open pit filled with human waste could smell. This is the case here, especially as the water cannot flow out again because of the weeds and all manner of waste deposited in it.

“Anywhere, we are still waiting for the government to extend its good work to it too,” he added.

The residents of Akoka and Bariga are not alone in their agony. Those in Mafoluku area of

Oshodi are equally begging for attention. Not many residents would say they are comfortable during the rainy season, as the canal in the area always overflows its banks to flood peoples’ homes whenever it rains. Many atimes, there are tales of woes of children or property being washed away by the water current.

A resident in the area, Mr. Goodluck Adigwe, said: “Whenever it rains in this area, the story is always not so good to hear. It is either some children were swept ashore or homes were flooded and property damaged.

“It is not as if the government has not been clearing the canal. There are people who take delight in emptying their garbage into it. I feel if the government can keep it clean always by clearing it quarterly, people would not be so daft to pour their refuse into it,” he added.

For Owode-Ajegunle in Ikorodu axis, the residents, especially those living along Ondo Street and its environs, are happy as the rot in the canal has been cleared and water is flowing out freely. But those on the other side of Calvary Close are still groaning under the filthy canal.

One of the residents, Bunmi Olaitan, said: “In fact, I cannot describe the situation because it is terrible. It is filled with all sorts of waste and overgrown with weeds. The water cannot flow out because it is blocked.”

They are now praying that the government would also carry out the exercise in the area as it did in Obalende.

Since the canal in Obalende canal with its environs was cleared, residents have heaved a sigh of relief and are breathing fresh air.

In a similar vein, the attention of the ministry has been drawn to the situation of the drainage at Idi-Araba, Mushin.

In reaction to the degradation of Olowolagba, Keke and Opeloyeru streets in Bariga, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Muiz Adeyemi Banire, held a meeting with the residents, landlords and Community Development Associations (CDAs) of the affected areas to proffer a lasting solution to the problem.

He expressed the displeasure of the state government concerning the environment in Bariga, pointing out that a situation where human waste was common sight in all the nooks and crannies of the community, was an aberration. He described it as an open invitation to epidemics such as cholera and diahorrea.

He noted that many homes do not have toilet facilities, thereby forcing residents to convert drainage channels, which the state has recently put in place to rescue the people from incessant flooding, to toilets.

“The implications of this is a smelly neighbourhood and heavy pollution of surface water. The Commissioner also decried the indiscriminate disposal of refuse all over the community, despite the campaign against dumping of refuse in the canals.

Banire said refuse and stagnant water bred mosquitoes and exposed the people, young and old, to the scourge of malaria, which creates a leakage in the purse of the people and government as health bills increase.

The meeting, which had representatives of various stakeholders from the affected communities led by the Chairman of Isokan Community Development Association, Evangelist A. Folorunsho resolved that by the end of February 2010, all landlords would have provided modern toilet facilities in their tenements. They pledged that they would improve the sanitary condition of the communities and keep the drains free of all abuses.

The association commended the efforts of government in ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment and urged it to detail Environmental Health Officers to monitor compliance with the terms of agreement of the meeting and enforce the law against defaulters.



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