Lagos communities fear flooding, seek aid on canal project
TO wade off flooding and ensure the protection of their property, some communities have cried to the Lagos State government to see to the completion of the canal project within their locality in Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of the state.
The communities said the call at this time was unavoidable as the sight of abandoned Arigbanla/Aboru canal, has continuously constitutes serious source of concern and threat to their valuables.
Arigbanla/Aboru canal, which traverses Abule Oki and eight other adjoining communities was said to have been abandoned, a scenario, that should be addressed now before the rains come, residents within the community has said.
According to residents the non-completion of the concrete lining of the canal has exposed them to, and put them at the mercy of flood, which they claimed that at its peak, often rises up to nine feet, submerging and expose lives and property to serious threat.
Rising from their meeting last week, the residents of the eight communities in “Save-Our-Soul”, pleaded with the appropriate authority to ensure the completion of the canal before another rainy season.
In a petition to the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Chairman of the Committee on Canal Dredging in the communities, Alhaji Kamarudeen Bamidele said Abule Oki axis, which is the confluence point for all the floodwater channeled to the area is worse hit, alleging that the contractor, Messrs Dully Dredging and Construction Company have abandoned the work.
“Abule Oki now receives wastewater from Ahmaddiya, Agbelekale/Ekoro, Papa Ashafa/Mulero, Orile Agege/Dopemu, Oke Shagun, Akinola and Oke-Odo/Abule Egba.
“However, non-completion of the work by the contractor has contributes to the suffering of we residents. We continued to suffer environmental degradation as a result of government’s effort to de-flood some parts of the state- an effort that is being frustrated by incompetent contractor”, said the committee, adding that their communities, which has been laid waste by flood had never experienced such in the past.
They contended that the axis had been immuned to the savagery of the floods until the area became a melting point for about eight separate floodwater paths. They added that many more canals have been channeled into the area, leaving Abule Oki, Akinola, Raji Rasaki and adjoining communities more devastated.
The chairman said residents are not happy that the 12 months tenure project, which was awarded in February 2012 and ought to have been completed since January 2013 had been abandoned, with dire consequences to the people.
One of the communitry leader, who simply identified himself as “Bamidele”, a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) retiree, said several lives had been lost, while others lost their means of livelihood due to the perennial flooding as a result of the neglect of the canal dredging.
“Personally, I lost over N14 million in a fish pond investment in 2011, when we experienced the worst devastating flood that necessitated this canal dredging. Several landlords lost their homes to the flood and many tenants relocated because the entire area became submerged. So many houses sunk and several houses were abandoned and were overgrown with weeds as if they were virgin lands.”
Another leadewr in the community, Superior Evangelist Stephen Oduntan of the Celestial Church of Christ who is also the Vice Chairman of the Canal Dredging Committee, noted that the area was never prone to flood when he moved in the 70s,” he recalled.
According to Oduntan, residents have never troubled by flood. “In fact, this same river that is now heavily polluted was where we baptize new converts. Everything changed a little over a decade ago and since then things have never been the same again.”
They claimed that the apart from Governor Fashola, government offcials, especially, Commissioners in the two concerned ministries, the Ministry for the Environment and his counterpart in the Ministry for Information and
Strategy, knew about the plight of his people, wondering why government would fold its hands while the contractor handling the project would walk away after being mobilised without any action taken against him.
He said: “Sequel to the flood disaster of 2011, government decided to dredge all canals around the state and Arigbanla was dredged and the concrete lining was done, since then they never experienced flooding in those areas again.
“When they met with us, we were assured that our canal would be dredged and a concrete lining carried out at three different locations. We were told a gang would work from Ahmaddiya Area at Oke-Odo down to Agbelekale, the second gang shall work from Pleasure bus Stop along Abeokuta Expressway to link up with Arigbanla, from where waste water from Abbatoir and other canals have been channeled, into Abule Oki and the third gang would work from Akinola Area towards Command.
He listed the demands of the communities to include the immediate dredging of the Aboru canal to reduce the pains of residents of the about 10 communities affected by the flood the population of which he put at over eight million.
Every month, he said, residents spends between N18,000 and N25,000 to clear the canal and the culverts of debris which has resulted into a reduction in incidences of flooding anytime it rains.