Isheri Estate residents want Lagos, Ogun governments to construct drainages
• ‘Poor Management Of Oyan Dam Has Contributed Significantly To Flooding Over The Years’
To prevent reoccurrence of the flood that ravaged the community in 2019, Isheri Estate residents in Lagos and Ogun States have called on the state governments to do a proper channelisation of the community and provide basic infrastructure in the area, warning that, “as it stands today, neither Lagos nor Ogun State could ever muster the resources needed to resettle the people who have built houses in this area, it is cheaper to solve the flooding issue than to contemplate the other options.’’
In a statement signed by the Representative of Isheri Estate Residents in Lagos and Ogun states, who is also the Chairman of Riverview Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association, Mr Abayomi Akinde, the residents said that the two state governments erred in allocating the land without first making provision for how water could be channelled in the community and without providing durable infrastructure.
The community, however, said that it was not too late for the governments to do the right thing. It said channelling the water now could be capital intensive, but the area was capable of paying for its own development several times over if the two governments could come together and involve stakeholders that have a clear understanding of the issues at stake.
According to the residents: “New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Southern California all in USA are flood plains. The city of Amsterdam is too well known to continue to emphasise.’’
Recall that the pioneer Managing Director of Ogun Osun River Basin Development Authority, late Chief Lekan Are, had in an interview with a national newspaper, said that the governments of Lagos and Ogun States exploited the vast area termed “flood plains” for their economic advantage to the detriment of the subscribers.
He also said that the place should never have been allocated, adding that the dam had been releasing water since 1983 and that people were not complaining about flooding. But the residents said while they agreed that the state governments exploited them, arguing that the place should never have been allocated could be myopic in the face of massive shortfall in housing and the ever dwindling land resources to build houses for Nigeria’s ever-increasing population.
The residents said that people were not complaining of flooding in the past because the flood occurred less frequently before the construction of the Oyan dam, adding that there were historical facts that the dam, whose function included flood control, had contributed significantly to flooding over the years due to its poor management.
The late pioneer managing director of the dam had accused Lagos State government of failing to pay for processing the water released from the dam when he was in charge of the dam years back. He, however, said despite this, the dam continued to release water “in the interest of the people.” The residents urged the present management of the dam to take a cue from this and release water for processing when needed and stop flooding the environment with water during the rainy season, as was the case in the recent past.
They also advised the management of the dam to up its game as the management model employed 40 years ago would no longer work in this day and age due to obvious reasons of growth and development that had taken place in both Lagos and Ogun states over the years.
The problem of climate change notwithstanding, the residents insisted that attempts of the management of OORBDA to quickly raise climate change issue in defence of its obvious cluelessness was laughable, adding: “You cannot win a climate change argument without supporting it with data. Rainfall data from the catchment areas of Oyan dam over the past three decades does not suggest that there’s significantly higher amount of rainfall in 2019 to justify the massive release of water.”
The community said that any suggestion that people should give up their houses was in bad taste and an obvious sign of lack of compassion for people who innocently bought into government schemes, invest all of their lives’ savings to build a home without knowing the danger they faced. Besides, the residents said such suggestion would strengthen the hands of the people managing the dam to continue their irresponsible behaviour.
On the dam construction, the residents said perhaps it was programmed to fail as the then National Electric Power Authority would never have managed any hydro-electric facility that was not directly under its control. “Yet the design of the dam was changed in the last minute to include three turbines, two of which remained uninstalled till this day. How do you expect NEPA to post staff to a project you never completed and which remains uncompleted till date?’’ they queried.