Perennial flooding: Agege residents cry out
• As Fashola visits, assures residents of support after windstorm
RESIDENTS of Papa-Ashafa community in Agege, Lagos, have reiterated the call on the state government to assist in putting an end to the perennial flooding facing the area.
Papa-Ashafa, a densely populated residential community, sitting on a low topography, has for several years been at the receiving end of water coming from drainage channels that network a section of Agege Local Council. And often, when it rains slightly heavily, a huge proportion of the rainwater finds ways into the community, sacking residents from their shops and houses.
Such was the case when Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) visited the community at the weekend, to have a feel of the extent of damage that a windstorm wrecked on homes and properties earlier in the week.
Fashola, who arrived amidst a heavy downpour, wrapped himself in a raincoat, as he and his crew tip-toed through the flooded streets, taking stock of houses that were affected by the windstorm.
Accompanied by officials of the Ministry of Environment, Works and Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA), Fashola walked through several streets, including Edun, Fashola, Adeyinka, Ope-Ifa, Kusoro and Akinremi among others, making occasional stops to chat with the victims.
One of the residents told The Guardian that the community is “the headquarters” of flooding in the Agege area, but has been abandoned for years.
According to him: “It has always been like that whenever it rains. No change at all. All the water from Papa and Mulero is channeled to this area (Egbatedo).”
“Yes, it is raining, but the rain is not heavy at all, otherwise, nobody would have been able to step on the road. I’m not happy because, I wish it had rained heavily, for Fashola to see what we go through. I’m sure none of you people would have been able to come down,” a resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
Another resident, who identified herself as Yellow, said the state government had tried to help recently, but too far in-between. Yellow observed that attempts were made to construct drainages in some streets and fill some roads with sand.
“That is what government has done, but there is more that we need in this area. We are grateful that the governor has come to see us and give us help. But much more is needed. This is a no-go area whenever it rains. Government should help us,” she pleaded.
It was observed that all the drainage channels were filled with water, but floating on their surface and on some roads were also refuse dumps, some of which were human faeces, baby diapers, water sachets, decomposing rats, broken bottles among others.
Notwithstanding the rain, Yellow and other residents comprising men, women and children swamped behind the august visitors, with some calling for further assistance from the government while some chanted in solidarity of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Concluding the tour, Fashola said besides the state government already ensuring the welfare of some of the victims at the Igando Relief Camp, efforts were on to move in building materials to repair all damages, using artisans from the State Technical Colleges.
The governor noted that the windstorm was nature at work and it usually happens around March.
He recalled that three years ago, it was around March that the windstorm came to Lagos. Two years ago, it happened on Third Mainland Bridge and destroyed all street poles. Last year, it was in Epe and this year, it came to Agege.
According to him: “In the last three days, for those who lost their roofs, we have assembled carpenters; we have also got roofing sheets. Those whose slates of their homes had been broken, all of them will be sorted out; they should just exercise patience. We will look at ways to settle the payment. That is what we are using your taxes for.”
On flooding, Fashola appealed to residents to take control of their refuse, as he urged them to desist from dumping rubbish into drain channels.
“You must bag your refuse, don’t dump them in the drains, they would constrict the drains that we have built and on a heavy stormy day, if the water does not find where to go, it would come to the road and into your homes. We can avoid that and we should,” he said.
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