Flood threat: Ogun border community cries out over opening Oyan River dam
• Seeks speedy completion of Denro Bridge
Worried by flood threat as a result of the opening of Oyan River dam in Abeokuta, residents of Denro -Ishashi community, an Ogun border town, have called on the state government to speed up the ongoing construction of Denro bridge in the area.
The community, which is roughly a kilometre drive to Ojodu-Berger, Lagos is inhabited mostly by professionals and artisans, who ply their trades in Lagos.
The entire stretch of road from Kosoko to Akute has been impassable as a result of bad road, exacerbated by flood. The residents, who are victims of the yearly flood during the rainy season, said the poor state of the environment worsened by the opening of the dam is affecting their means of livelihood.
One of them, Kehinde Ojelabi said, transversing the road has become a death sentence to many, while their vehicles suffer regular damages.
According to him, the almost five-kilometer road, originating from Adugboluja Police Station, Ojodu Abiodun on the fringes of Ojo Berger, and traversing Oluwakemi, Island Heritage Estate (Madonna), Denro, Ishashi, Pipeline, all the way to the ever-busy Akute Bus Stop, had been a nightmare for residents.
He said: “Erosion has since redesigned the road, while the opening of the Abeokuta dam has worsened the situation.
“Every year, the road becomes impassable for up to two, three months because of a failed bridge constructed over one of the tributaries of River Ogun that connects Kara on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, during which the water overflows, making human and vehicular traffic impossible.
“ The overflowing water, coupled with a terrible stretch of the road from beginning to end, made the development of the areas stunted, thereby making lives difficult and the movement of goods a harrowing experience.
“Heavy rains create a small river, but the dam turns it into an ‘ocean’, as is presently the case.
“ Crossing this ‘ocean’ requires boarding a canoe at the cost of N100 but this requires that one walks a few steps into the ‘ocean’, for like ships on high seas, the canoes don’t dock on shallow water,” he said.
Another resident, Kehinde Ajao, said residents now climb on the backs of handfuls of young men, who have capitalised the situation to make ends meet.
According to her, to cross the flooded road, one has to pay the young men to back you for a fee of N100 , an awkward practice that requires residents, old and young, to climb the young men’s backs to be carried like babies.
“But this is even dangerous, because the water level is well above the knee and the path is stony and rough. A little stumble and both the ‘backer’ and the ‘backed’ could find themselves at the bottom of the dirty ‘ocean’, she lamented.
“Life is a daily struggle in Denro-Ishashi on account of neglect by successive governments in Ogun State. To make matters worse, the bridge construction caved in, leading to the overflowing of the water.
“In March, last year, houses and shops were taken down by the government to build an overhead bridge connecting to the main road, to ensure easy passage for motorists and pedestrians whenever the dam is opened. This rendered many residents in the area homeless and jobless, but the thought of having a good road that would facilitate development in the area was a source of joy and hope for land owners. Yet, over a year after, the bridge is yet to be completed and the residents are still subjected to a flood during the rainy season or when the dam is opened.
“We went through hell, with some people losing their lives while trying to wade through the water, whose depth sometimes can cover a full grown man,” said a chief in the area.
Another resident, Mr. Ola Adegoke, said: “They should allow Lagos State to take over this place. So, that we can feel government’s presence for once. If you look at it, this place should be Lagos State. If it was Lagos State, they would have finished the bridge.”
To foster development and reduce the loss of life and property, the community has called on the chairman of Ifo Local Council, Mrs. Moji Delana and Ogun State government to devote full attention and resources to the construction activities in the environm
Contacted, Ogun State commissioner for environment, Mr. Ola Oresanya, said the state is aware of the present condition of the area and is doing everything possible to ensure that the construction work continues. He said: “We are aware of the situation and we are trying to solve the problem in the area. We visited the place last week, construction work is ongoing and we are not relenting.”