•Baale sends SOS to Ambode
As the rainy season gradually moves into its peak period, residents of Igbojiya, a sleeping community in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, about 25 minutes’ drive away from the prestigious Victoria Garden City (VGC), have already been subjected to dreadful experiences from its fallout.
Unlike occupants of neighbouring exquisite estates in the sprawling Lekki axis, residents of Igbojiya, who are predominantly the working class, small business people and artisans, are starved of the luxury of easy passage in and out of their community due to flooding caused by the frequent downpours.
Although the entire Lekki area is prone to flooding; the community’s case is said to be peculiar; primarily because the three accesses points into Igbojiya have been rendered impassable to the extent that pupils have to traverse a narrow fence line, as high a six feet, to avoid wading through a large pool of deep, dirty water at the Shapati entrance.
“Those who must pass through Imalete-Alafia end, have to compulsorily wade through a long stretch of deep swampy canal and risk exposure to dangerous creeping reptiles, while at the Elesekan entrance, where the natural canal had stopped flowing due to blockade and created excessive pool on the road, people can’t enter or leave the community, except they hazard a walk along a narrow concrete cast and a mesh of protruding sharp iron rods; at the risk of falling into deep marshy canal that is obviously infested with dangerous reptiles,” Mr. Ojoh Oshomah related.
Lamenting the debilitating effect of the flood on residents, the traditional head of Igbojiya, (Baale) Chief Tajudeen Oluwo, called on the Lagos State government to, as a matter of urgency, come to the residents’ aid by providing access into Igboliya community.
“The situation is so terrible we can’t even go out or come into our homes because flood waters have taken over everywhere in the community,” he said.
Our correspondent, who visited the community, learnt that water from the blocked canal brakes through its banks, spills back into the community, flooding the roads, residential places and exposes the inhabitants to unbearable trauma, health hazards and attacks by creeping water creatures.
“The problem we have here is very terrible. Each time it rains, we have all sorts of problems mainly because people have built and obstructed the canal which is the natural drainage in the area that runs through the entire length of Lekki, Ibeju and up to Epe into Atlantic Ocean through the Epe end of the lagoon. Due to the blockage, the flow of water through the natural canal is obstructed,” Uche explained.
He added: “We need a situation where the water channel can be cleared; the people, who have already built on the channel, can at least give some space for the water to drain normally; so that we can have some good time because in fact, I lack the words to describe the situation here whenever it rains.”
Attempting to quantify the misery of the community Oshomah said: “The problem of flood is of many sorts. When it rains, people can’t go to work; the kids can’t go to school, some pupils were seen walking on narrow fence wall as high as six feet to avoid wetting their shoes and uniform in deep dark stagnant pools of water. Vehicles can’t even come in here; we park our vehicle off the Lekki-Epe Expressway and trek home each day. The culvert you see here was built through community effort; it has become too narrow for water to pass because it is blocked at several points. The water is now diverting onto the road and overflowing into premises. And at every of the three points of entry into our community, there is a last point where vehicular and human traffic must stop or alight as the case may be.”
Sunday Telegraph also discovered that residents of Igbojiya have been raising funds and have even dropped some tons of quarry hard-core in a fresh attempt to create a suitable road into the community, at the Igbojiya/Imalete-Alafia entrance where a huge culvert had been built.
However, their efforts have so far proved to be infinitesimal as a lot of money is required to create a proper access.
Consequently, Baale Oluwo sent an SOS to the state government for help. While noting that Lagos State, under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, was famous for carrying out people-oriented developmental projects, Chief Oluwu pointed out that his subjects (Igbojiya residents) are indeed law abiding citizens who have also complemented the infrastructural and development efforts of the state government.
“We have been paying our dues such as Land Use Charges to the state government; trading outlet in the community also pay trade permits to the Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Council revenue unit. The electricity light that we have here was made possible through community efforts; we the residents bought poles, cables and paid the contractor who installed the facility and yet we are paying Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKDC) for energy consumption,” Uche lamented.
“So we need, at least, a sense of belonging from the government. We want government to come here and see to our problems so that we can as well enjoy the good governance in Lagos State,” Uche said.
Still speaking in the same vein, Mr. Samson Ayeni added: “We thank God that we have a performing government in the state. We need government to help us to evacuate the water; the culvert has been obstructed but cannot handle the overflow.”
Invariably, Tunde Oyeniyi added: “We are calling on the government to help us out here. Meanwhile another election is coming up and the government will want our community members to vote them in again.”
“The issue here is if this benevolent government can’t come to our aide; on what ground shall Igbojiya people vote for this government? Presently we feel like a people abandoned by its government, they don’t count us among, you can see it yourself,” Oshoma stressed.
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